Traffic Safety Update: Caution Advised Whenever Approaching an Accident Scene with Personnel and Emergency Vehicles

More than once you may have heard the phrase uttered, “Work as long as we have in this business and you’ll see just about everything.” Well, we can say that if a person lives in the Baltimore area long enough there will likely come a day when you may start to see things that in no way surprise you. As automobile injury accident lawyers, I and my colleagues are less surprised than most people at the types of car, truck and motorcycle crashes that occur weekly across this state.

The point is that in densely packed metropolitan areas like Baltimore and Washington, D.C., hardly a day goes by without a severe traffic-related collision between cars and trucks. These kinds of roadway wrecks can result in some very serious and life-threatening physical injuries. Back and neck injuries, many involving spinal cord damage are common, as are traumatic brain injuries. Certainly, those caught up in motorcycle-related accidents have a greater chance than anyone of being serious hurt in a roadway wreck.

As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we understand many of the causes of car and truck collisions, but even so, we can still be amazed by the way in which these accidents come about. Consider an incident that happened just a short while ago involving a couple passenger cars and a fire department vehicle. While the fire truck was not moving at the time, one has to ask themself whether or not the other drivers were paying attention to the road ahead of them.

While it doesn’t take much of a distraction to prompt a highway accident, drivers who pay strict attention to the task at hand have a better chance of getting home in one piece. The primary job of any driver is to safely pilot his vehicle through traffic and away from danger. In the news story we ran across there was an obvious disconnect in this particular area.

According to reports, a number of fire department vehicles in Prince George’s County, MD, were put out of service in a matter of days following a two crashes involving these commercial motor vehicles. While news reports indicated that the fire department personnel were not responsible for the roadway collisions that caused the vehicles to be placed out of service, other drivers apparently were responsible in one way or another.

Based on police reports, one of the Beltway FD’s fire trucks sustained approximately $30,000 worth of damage following a collision that occurred along a stretch of the Beltway in Prince George’s County. News articles detailing the incident stated that the vehicle was providing what authorities referred to as “barrier protection” during an early morning traffic incident. In that case, the Greenbelt FD truck was being used to shield emergency workers from oncoming traffic.

Although the vehicle had its emergency flashers and other lights on, in addition to the deployment of road flares, the vehicle was still struck by a passenger car a little before 3am on a Saturday. At that time, a Lexus ran into the rear of the truck that was providing protection to emergency crews. After the Lexus hit the fire truck, a second passenger vehicle hit the first one. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured in the collision that morning. The other fire vehicle was damaged in a crash that happened just days earlier. At the time of the news article, the Greenbelt FD was borrowing another department’s fire trucks, while county officials did not know how soon the damaged truck might be back in service.

Greenbelt fire trucks out of service after two crashes,, September 10, 2012

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