Fire truck crashes with apparatus driver fatalities: Fatality Analysis Report System (FARS): 1991-2000

Steven L. Proudfoot, Edward Lee Husting, PhD, MPH


This analysis reports crashes in which firefighters were killed on fire apparatus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1991 through 2000 included 33 incidents with 38 firefighter fatalities, including 23 apparatus drivers. Crashes increased steadily from two in 1991 to six in 2000. The average age of the victims was 37.7 years and the average of the drivers was 38.3. Alcohol was a possible factor in two incidents. The most commonly cited driver-related factors are “failure to keep in proper lane or running off road” and “driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit.” Of 33 total incidents, 25 involved rollover. In 19 crashes involving rollover in which the apparatus drivers were killed, 12 drivers were either totally or partially ejected from the vehicle. Eleven were not wearing restraints. Twelve of the drivers were killed while using lights and sirens. Most fatalities took place on dry roads, in fair weather, during daylight hours. Twenty-one of 23 incidents occurred on rural roads. In 11 of the incidents, the driver was the sole vehicle occupant. Drivers should wear seat belts and adjust for vehicle limitations and hazardous conditions. Semiannual refresher driver training is recommended.



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