Distracted driving behaviors, including taking photos and videos and posting them to social media, are dangerously common in the presence of police, fire and emergency medical vehicles with their lights flashing, according to the results of a survey released today by the National Safety Council (NSC).
Among the survey’s most alarming findings:
- 71 percent of U.S. drivers take photos or videos when they see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road during an accident, fire or routine traffic stop.
- 60 percent of drivers post to social media while driving when they see a roadside emergency.
- 16 percent of drivers said they have struck or nearly struck a first responder or emergency vehicle stopped on or near the road.
- 80 percent of drivers slow down when they see emergency flashing lights, but the NSC cautions that excessive rubbernecking slows traffic and introduces new road hazards.
Despite these widespread behaviors, 62 percent of respondents believe that they are “above average” drivers when it comes to passing by emergency lights on the side of the road. Only 19 percent of drivers admit that their own distracted driving has put emergency responders at risk.
This early 2019 alone,16 first responders have been killed by distracted drivers passing emergency scenes. These statistics have galvanized a joint effort by the NSC and the Emergency Responder Safety Institute to encourage motorists toward extra vigilance on the road, especially in the presence of emergency vehicles.
“Our emergency responders deserve the highest levels of protection as they grapple with situations that are not only tactically difficult but also emotionally taxing,” says Nick Smith, interim NSC president and CEO. “Save your communications for off the road; disconnect and just drive.”
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we encourage you to share these eye-opening statistics, remain vigilant behind the wheel and learn more about interstate driving safety.
Source: National Safety Council