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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2010, Article ID 525979, 7 pages
Research Article

Ambulance Crash Characteristics in the US Defined by the Popular Press: A Retrospective Analysis

1Critical Illness & Trauma Foundation, 2135 Charlotte Street, Suite 2, Bozeman, MT 59718, USA
2Western Transportation Institute, P.O. Box 174250, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA

Received 1 July 2010; Accepted 22 October 2010

Academic Editor: Rade B. Vukmir

Copyright © 2010 Teri L. Sanddal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ambulance crashes are a significant risk to prehospital care providers, the patients they are carrying, persons in other vehicles, and pedestrians. No uniform national transportation or medical database captures all ambulance crashes in the United States. A website captures many significant ambulance crashes by collecting reports in the popular media (the website is mentioned in the introduction). This report summaries findings from ambulance crashes for the time period of May 1, 2007 to April 30, 2009. Of the 466 crashes examined, 358 resulted in injuries to prehospital personnel, other vehicle occupants, patients being transported in the ambulance, or pedestrians. A total of 982 persons were injured as a result of ambulance crashes during the time period. Prehospital personnel were the most likely to be injured. Provider safety can and should be improved by ambulance vehicle redesign and the development of improved occupant safety restraints. Seventy-nine (79) crashes resulted in fatalities to some member of the same groups listed above. A total of 99 persons were killed in ambulance crashes during the time period. Persons in other vehicles involved in collisions with ambulances were the most likely to die as a result of crashes. In the urban environment, intersections are a particularly dangerous place for ambulances.