|Updated: 10/19/2012 6:11 pm
||Published: 10/19/2012 3:40 pm
Everyday in Green Country some drivers are not giving way to emergency vehicles.
For the first time, EMSA is putting regular drivers in the seat of an ambulance to show you how tough a job it is.
EMSA reports last year in the Eastern District there were 51 vehicle collisions with an ambulance. The year before there were 63 and in 2009 there were 45.
EMSA drivers in the Eastern division travel about 2.5 million combined miles in one year.
“Everyday we run the lights and sirens and it's dangerous for the crews. The most dangerous thing that we do on a daily basis is drive," said lead EMSA EMT, Mike Cain.
Most of the cases involve drivers not knowing what to do when they hear the lights and sirens.
“That’s aggravating," said Cain.
Many drivers stop in the middle of the road or interstate when they see EMSA coming up from behind them.
"They don't see you until the very last second and then they see you and then they say ‘oh what do I do?’” said Cain.
No matter if it’s a blizzard, construction or wet roads, drivers tend to ignore the rules of the road for emergency vehicles.
"I'm sure it aggravates the public as much as it aggravates us,” said Cain.
FOX23’s Abbie Alford got in the driver’s seat of the eight and half ton EMSA ambulance.
The first obstacle course was set up for rain or an oil slick road where Alford knocked down several cones.
"Did I run over those?” said Abbie.
Cain was in the passenger’s seat guiding her on the course.
Throughout the course there were tones for the EMSA driver to be aware of his or her driving behavior. One sounded like a flat line.
"Those tones tell us we are going way too fast," said Cain. "You should never hear those tones whenever you have a patient."
It’s about safety. One course was a training exercise on how to make sudden stops.
"Paramedics trying to talk on the radio, you're trying to drive and both of you guys are watching for traffic,” said Cain.
EMSA drivers also learned how to respond to a chaotic scene.
"Imagine going into an accident and you have to drive around fire trucks, police, wrecked vehicles, people standing around,” said Cain.
Fortunately, there is a co-pilot. Cain said that’s why the driver and passenger work as a team.
"That's probably the most important thing is watching out for each other," said Cain.
However, the dynamics change when rushing to the hospital while there is a paramedic in the back with a patient.
"It goes from a two man team to a one man team," said Cain.
Failing to yield to an ambulance adds a delay for EMSA responders to get to emergencies.
"You have to watch us and then we have to watch everyone else," said Cain.
EMSA recommends three rules of road regarding yielding to emergency vehicles:
First, always slow down and move to the right. Second, move over even if you’re driving in the opposite direction and there is a median. Finally, if you can’t move over, slowly stop or move out of the way for the ambulance to safely pass you.
Under Title 47 Chapter 11 Article 4 Section 11-314 it’s a misdemeanor crime if you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle and a $150 fine.