ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Characteristics of police and other emergency vehicle crashes in New South Wales

Symmons, Mark, Haworth, Narelle, Mulvihill, Christine (Peer reviewed)

Crashes - Analysis

2005

Emergency vehicle drivers are generally more highly trained than other drivers.  However their task can be significantly more demanding, such as the occasional but unpredictable need to travel at high speed, the need to operate communications equipment while driving, etc. The public also expects them to set the highest example of driving behaviour, and a crash, particularly while driving at speed, is considered very newsworthy.  Such a high profile may make incidents involving emergency vehicles seem more common to the public than they actually are.

Making comparisons between emergency service vehicle crashes and ?ordinary? vehicle crashes, such as police car crashes versus all other car crashes, is problematic.  For example, an emergency service vehicle is part of the workplace for driving officers and their on-road exposure is likely to be higher.  However, comparisons with other, similar vehicles driven for work purposes may yield a more accurate picture.

In this paper, crashes of vehicles classified as belonging to specific emergency service fleets were analysed on their own and in comparison to similar, non-emergency fleet vehicles that had also crashed.  For example, crashed police cars were compared with crashed fleet-registered cars.  Analyses were conducted for crash-related variables, driver-related variables, and behaviour-related variables.