Investigation of Emergency Vehicle Crashes in the State of Michigan

Crashes involving emergency vehicles, including ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars, are a substantial problem nationwide. The national traffic fatality rates for emergency medical service personnel, police officers, and firefighters have been estimated to be 2.5 to 4.8 times the national average among all occupations. Emergency vehicle crashes have been shown to be particularly problematic in the State of Michigan, which is among four states that were previously shown to account for 37.5% of the country’s ambulance‐involved fatalities. Over the five‐year period from 2004 to 2008, a total of 12,966 emergency vehicles were involved in traffic crashes in the State of Michigan and, among these crash‐involved vehicles, approximately 28.6 percent were on an emergency run at the time the crash occurred. The objectives of this research were to identify critical factors associated with the occurrence of emergency vehicle crashes, to distinguish among the characteristics of crashes involving different types of emergency vehicles, and to determine those factors affecting the injury severity resulting from emergency vehicle crashes. Crashes occurring during emergency response were more likely to occur near intersections or driveways, under dark lighting conditions, and during the PM peak period and the most prevalent types of crashes were angle, head‐on, and sideswipe collisions. These emergency response crashes were also characterized by high risk driving behaviors, such as speeding, overtaking, passing, and non‐use of safety restraint devices. Injuries tended to be most severe at high speeds, when emergency or non‐emergency drivers exhibited high risk driving behaviors, when angle collisions occurred, and when crashes involved police cars. Crashes were least severe at locations with lower posted speed limits, under darkness, when male drivers were involved, and particularly when safety belts were utilized.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:


    Purdue University
    3000 Kent Avenue
    Lafayette, IN  United States  47906-1075

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Savolainen, Peter T
    • Dey, Kakan Chandra
    • Ghosh, Indrajit
    • Karra, Teja L N
    • Lamb, Alexander
  • Publication Date: 2009-10-15


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 41p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01149555
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NEXTRANS Project No. 015WY01
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT07‐G‐005 (Grant)
  • Files: UTC, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 18 2010 3:51PM