Tag Archives: EMTs

Are emergency drivers distracted by technology?

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

“Driven to Distraction,” a New York Times series that looks at the “dangers of drivers using cellphones and other electronic devices, and efforts to deal with the problem,” turns its focus on first responders, such as police and paramedics.

ambulance

Photo by rKistian via Flickr

Reporter Matt Richtel points out that emergency drivers are often required to use technological gadgets while driving at high speeds and negotiating heavy traffic to get directions and transmit information about patients.

Data does not exist about crashes caused by police officers or medics distracted by their devices. But there are tragic anecdotes.

The New York City Fire Department says ambulance drivers are not supposed to use on-board computers while driving but “medics and E.M.T.’s in New York and elsewhere say that although they are aware of the rules, they do use their on-board computers while driving.”