NHTSA investigates driver training for ambulances

The study hopes to determine the types of training, when training is required, impact of incidents on driving privilege, and other topics

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the Federal Register, said it will characterize ambulance driver training across the United States.

The agency proposes to collect information from EMS agencies and state EMS offices responsible for overseeing training, licensing and regulation of EMS agencies and their drivers.

Broadly, the project is interested in learning about the initial qualification standards for those who drive ambulances, types of driver training that are required, when training is required for new drivers, as well as continuing education for experienced drivers, the impact of crashes and moving violations on driving privileges for personnel and other related topics.

The results of this project will assist NHTSA in determining the current state of ambulance driver training, which will help the agency determine if additional research and development on the topic are warranted.

Participation by state EMS agencies will be voluntary. NHTSA is planning to collect the data from state agency representatives through semi-structured phone or in-person interviews and utilize an Internet-based survey for representatives of the 21,283 EMS agencies that provide ambulance services.

NHTSA has the federal responsibility for making driving safer by ensuring that drivers commit the fewest errors possible and by attempting to lower the impact of residual errors. Emergency vehicle operators must deal with critical time demands, large vehicles, and numerous potential and unavoidable distractions inherent in the response to emergencies. Training drivers is used in virtually all transportation sectors to reduce human error and thereby increase the safety of operations. 

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