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What Time of Day Do Most Ambulance Crashes Happen?

What time of day do most ambulance crashes happen?

In 1994, Prehospital and Disaster Medicine published one of the first studies involving fatal ambulance crashes during emergency and non-emergency transport. With no central database, researchers used 20 crash categories previously published by the National Highway Traffic Administration Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) Codebook from 1987 to 1990, including demographics, accident configuration, accident severity, vehicle description, and ambulance operator action.

Within the four years, researchers calculated 109 fatal ambulance crashes resulting in 126 deaths with four states accounting for more than one-third (37.5%) of the accidents: New York, Michigan, California, and North Carolina, accounted for 37.5% of all fatal crashes. At that same time California, New York, Florida and Texas all ranked high in vehicle crashes with high numbers of fatalities.

Researchers also found:

  • Most EU fatal crashes took place during the traditional workday 1200 to 1800 hours.
  • Most NEU fatal crashes took place when light conditions were poor.
  • Ambulance drivers were cited more in EU crashes.
  • No statistical difference was identified by:  1) day of week; 2) season; 3) atmospheric conditions; 4) roadway surface type; 5) roadway surface condition; 6) speed limit; 7) roadway alignment; 8) relationship to junction; 9) manner of collision; 10) year manufactured; 11) vehicle role; 12) vehicle maneuver; 13) manner leaving scene; 14) extent of deformation; 15) violations charged; or 16) number of persons killed in accident.

Changes over a Decade

In October 2010, researchers at the Critical Illness & Trauma Foundation and the Western Transportation Institute published a similar study in Emergency Medicine International, but instead of drawing from the FARS data, the study was “defined by the popular press,” during the time period of May 1, 2007 and April 30, 2009. Comparing data showed little difference over a decade.

Still, a decade later, “No uniform national transportation or medical database captures all ambulance crashes in the United States,” said the study. “A website captures many significant ambulance crashes by collecting reports in the popular media.” EMSNetwork served as the data point.


Based on evidence, 466 crashes occurred during the study’s time period and were analyzed showing  358 resulted in injuries. Injured patients included victims outside of the vehicle as well as inside during transport.

  • Of the 466 crashes examined, 358 resulted in injuries.
  • A total of 982 persons were injured during the crash.
  • Prehospital personnel were the most likely to be injured.
  • Of the 466 ambulance crashes, 79 resulted in the death of 99 people.
  • Some group in the study include both injuries and fatalities.
  • Vehicles involved in crashes with an ambulance were the most likely to die.
  • Intersections had higher risks for collisions.

See Complete Data Results