October Crash with a Fire Truck Leaves one Driver Dead
On October 20, 2015, when responding to an accident scene on US-301 near Franklin Road, a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crew impacted with a 2012 Lincoln, killing the driver of the car immediately. According to local news reports, the fire engine was travelling northbound on the highway and the car was going the opposite direction. Suddenly, the automobile began to veer into the oncoming northbound lane. Despite attempts to avoid the collision, the two vehicles collided, killing the driver of the Lincoln.
The Florida Highway Patrol shut down US-301 for almost three hours while road crews cleaned up the debris and crushed vehicles. Though the engine was badly damaged, none of the firefighters on board were injured. Personal injury lawyers know the facts all too well. The sheer weight and design of big vehicles like the fire engine can completely demolish small vehicles and kill passengers on impact. To keep you safe on the road, the following includes some helpful reminders about emergency vehicles that every driver should remember.
There Is An Emergency Happening All The Time
Tampa drivers must contend with many distractions, from road construction to incoming airplanes arriving at Tampa International Airport. There are millions of out-of-state visitors, “Spring Breakers,” tourists from other countries, regular sporting events, and many other reasons to use caution on our roadways. While many of these distractions may come in waves – tourism, sports, etc. – emergency vehicles remain a constant reason to remain alert. When driving, you should look for lights, sirens, and brightly colored vehicles.
Emergency Vehicles Move Fast
You probably know it already, but emergency rescue personnel are legally permitted to drive faster than the posted speed limits when responding to emergencies. What you may not realize is those drivers are also permitted to drive into oncoming traffic, ignore traffic signs and lights and enter areas designated “no through traffic” or “do not enter.” Emergency drivers are taught to always use extreme caution and only take such measures if absolutely necessary to protect the public. These highly skilled and well-trained drivers must make split second decisions, balancing the risk and need for performing certain measures on the roadways. They must do all of this while often travelling faster than surrounding vehicles.
Emergency Vehicles Are Heavy And Cannot Stop As Quickly
While they can go fast, they cannot always stop fast. This is illustrated by the October 20 crash on US-301. Where a typical passenger sedan may be able to stop quickly to avoid an oncoming car, a fire engine can weigh over 10 times what a small car weighs. So, you should not expect them to stop on a dime. Think of them the same way you would a tractor-trailer.
Every day in the Tampa Bay area, emergency personnel are responding to dangerous and often fatal collisions. We see them on Dale Mabry, I-75, I-4 and all over US-19. If you drive to and from work every day, you will undoubtedly encounter them on a regular occasion.
Be sure to move over, make way, and give them space. Keep your eyes up, do not text and drive, and let them get where they are going. After all, in this tragic case, there was already an accident with victims who needed help. When the fire engine is involved in a wreck, it only serves to further delay help to the victims and can create new victims to treat. If you are involved in a crash in the Tampa Bay area, call an experienced Tampa injury lawyer at the Romero Law Firm who can fight for the justice you deserve.