View Full Version : Gadgets in Emergency Vehicles Seen as Peril
03-12-2010, 08:31 PM
http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/2/AmericanFlag.jpg Ambulances and police cars are becoming increasingly wired. Some 75 percent of police cruisers have on-board computers, a figure that has doubled over the last decade. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/technology/11distracted.html?ref=automobiles)
http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/F150_-_Truck_Computer.jpgMatt Richtel - NYTIMES (http://www.nytimes.com) - Mar 10, 2010
This application is not the same as the typical distracted driver using their phone. --Ed.
They are the most wired vehicles on the road, with dashboard computers, sophisticated radios, navigation systems and cellphones.
While such gadgets are widely seen as distractions to be avoided behind the wheel, there are hundreds of thousands of drivers — police officers and paramedics — who are required to use them, sometimes at high speeds, while weaving through traffic, sirens blaring.
The drivers say the technology is a huge boon for their jobs, saving valuable seconds and providing instant access to essential information. But it also presents a clear risk — even the potential to take a life while they are trying to save one.... http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/11/technology/11distracted.html?ref=automobiles
03-13-2010, 07:53 AM
I'd say about 50% of the times I can see a police officer inside
a cruiser rolling along the road, he's on the phone.
03-13-2010, 09:21 AM
IMHO, this should never happen ...
Philip Macaluso, a New York paramedic, recalled a moment recently when he was rushing to the hospital while keying information into his dashboard computer. At the last second, he looked up from the control panel and slammed on his brakes to avoid a woman who stepped into the street.
We have mobile computers in our ambulances and fire apparatus, but they are positioned so that the driver can't see them, for exactly the reasons described in the article. Someone almost always rides shotgun while responding to the scene, and that person (not the driver) retrieves valuable information as the crew responds, such as address, scene conditions as reported by callers, and GIS routing to the scene.
One could argue the driver might need routing to the hospital, but I will respond by saying, a) he needs to learn his area and know where hospitals are located before he starts driving on emergency calls and b) bring it up on the map before leaving the scene if he has to.
As for this ...
Ambulances ... can use the computers to send information about the patient before they arrive at hospitals.
Yes, perhaps they can. In that case, the other crew member can (and should, as the primary patient caregiver) do it. Besides, in our system, the primary patient caregiver generally uses the radio or a cell phone from the patient compartment.
My biggest concern around here is the one-person police cruisers. I often see cops in my area repeatedly shifting their gaze between the road and their computers as they're driving. It's just a matter of time before a serious collision occurs.
___I totally agree with your assessment. You are a paramedic IIRC, right? Anyone entering anything into a PDA/PC/Smartphone whatever while driving the Emergency vehicle should be thrown in jail just as anyone else would. In addition, what Ambulance or first responder crew goes out with just one person? I have never seen that in my life.
___I can see the second working on a patent while entering in data having trouble but that is nothing compared to the driver messing with any of the electronics…
___Maybe Philip was catching up on twitter or something :mad:
03-25-2010, 06:41 AM
Yes, I am a paramedic.
In some systems, especially with volunteers, fire and EMS apparatus may respond with only one person. Other personnel respond in other vehicles, sometimes their own cars, to meet the apparatus at the scene.
EMS first responders and supervisors in sedans or SUVs routinely operate with one person, and there you have the same problem as the police. My department has a strong safety culture and I'd like to believe our battalion chiefs aren't letting the computer distract them from driving. I'm not naïve enough to actually believe that, however -- lest anyone think I'm in denial about my house's glass walls as I throw stones at the cops.
03-25-2010, 07:41 AM
I never have understood why all police/ambulances aren't required to be, at least virtual, 2 man vehicles. With the technology available today, a person sitting in a controlled office could easily be the second man in several cars at once operating the equipment as required for emergencies (GPS, lights, sirens, etc). They could operate cameras and read/run plates. And frankly if I were a one man unit, I feel a lot better knowing that when I turn around to walk back to the vehicle with a license that someone is still looking forward and keeping an eye on the car/person and can let me know if something odd is happening.
And nothing irritates me more that an office typing on their in car computer while tailgating a vehicle so they can read the plates.
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