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Driver distraction puts first responders at risk for collision

A recent survey has revealed some disturbing trends among drivers who pass an emergency vehicle. California drivers should know that 71 percent of survey participants admitted to taking photos or videos when they see an emergency vehicle either making a routine traffic stop or responding to an emergency.

Moreover, 16 percent admitted to hitting or nearly hitting the vehicle or a first responder. Thousands of people die every year in distracted driving crashes, and first responders put themselves at a high risk when on active roadways. In 2013, there were 37 deaths attributed to crashes with fire trucks, police cars or ambulances. In the first four months of 2019, 16 emergency responders were struck and killed by vehicles.

In the survey, 60 percent of participants said that they post something in social media whenever they see emergency vehicles, and 66 percent said they email someone about it while behind the wheel. Seventy-three percent said they move over when they see such a vehicle on the roadside with its lights on, which is the correct thing to do. Still, 33 percent had never heard of "Move Over" laws. Though 89 percent considered distracted driving a risk to first responders, only 19 percent said the same for their own inattentive driving.

First responders who are injured by a distracted driver while tending to someone on the side of the road may have good grounds for a personal injury claim. They may want to consult with Costa Mesa auto accident injury lawyers about how much they can recover in damages. A claim might cover losses like medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. A lawyer may speak for injured victims at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.

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