Traffic > Safety

Errant emergency-vehicle drivers make us fear for our lives

Do you dread being the next victim of a wayward fire truck or ambulance?

Carelessness and recklessness have no place in this line of work. SCREENSHOT FROM ABS-CBN

Aside from doctors, nurses and other health workers, drivers of emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks can also be considered frontline staff. With or without the pandemic, these are the people we rely on the most when lives are on the line. But for one innocent passerby, an errant fire truck almost brought her very close to death.

A female pedestrian was severely injured by a fire engine as it sped through a narrow street with a shallow curve in Pateros. CCTV footage shows the vehicle appearing to carry excessive speed into the corner, making it understeer toward the curb and onto the victim. Another security camera captured the moment when the same fire truck collided with a sedan and almost hit a motorcycle.

The damage to the vehicle seems to be purely cosmetic. Not so with the victim's injuries. SCREENSHOTS FROM ABS-CBN

According to the Pateros Fire Station chief, the truck wasn’t on an emergency call. That might explain why the roof-mounted lightbar was flashing but the siren wasn’t on (according to the victim’s companion). There is absolutely no reason, then, why the vehicle should be speeding in the first place.

Emergency vehicles violating traffic rules (such as driving on the side of the road) is nothing new. Such behavior is pretty much necessary given the time-sensitive nature of their purpose. But for these vehicles to be the ones maiming (or killing) helpless bystanders is extremely infuriating. Hearing about an errant fire-truck driver injuring people is not only alarming, but it also strikes the kind of fear that is possibly greater than any wayward city bus can ever induce.

Imagine the stress and the trauma that will haunt the victim for the rest of her life. SCREENSHOTS FROM BRIGADA NEWS

In this particular accident, we’re not really sure if the guy behind the wheel truly understood what was at stake in his line of work, or what his responsibilities were. This careless and cavalier attitude is probably not very different from how public-utility vehicle operators behave: driving without a care in the world.

Anyone would probably freeze in fear at the sight of a wayward fire truck. SCREENSHOT FROM BRIGADA NEWS

Never mind the fact that the fire truck involved looks like one of the modern (and very expensive) Rosenbauer TLF 4000 rigs acquired by the Bureau of Fire Protection a few years ago (read: taxpayer money). We can’t imagine the pain and suffering experienced by the injured woman. Not to mention the quality of life she now faces as reports say that she will lose one eye from the incident.

Let’s continue giving emergency vehicles a wider berth not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s for our own safety.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.