Safer emergency rides through further training

Some nasty accidents that happened during ambulance emergency rides have made it clear that the drivers need further training. Today, training is easier to provide through information recorded in an emergency ride log. This leads to lower speeds and more careful overtaking.

Some nasty accidents that happened during ambulance emergency rides have made it clear that the drivers need further training. Today, training is easier to provide through information recorded in an emergency ride log. This leads to lower speeds and more careful overtaking.

All ambulance drivers receive basic training, but further training that is needed for safer driving is difficult to obtain since the critical situations that may lead to accidents arise in actual traffic. A few serious accidents and several incidents that took place during emergency rides in Umeå provided the incentive for the emergency centre Akut- och Katastrofmedicinskt Centrum operating under the Västerbotten County Council, in cooperation with the technology firm FältCom, to create DART (Driver Access Recording Tool), a tool enabling drivers to analyse their behaviour and improve their driving technique.

Everything is recorded

Each driver carries a unique ID card that registers the person sitting behind the wheel. When the driver turns on the emergency light of the ambulance, a camera is automatically switched on. The logged data also includes the driving speed of the ambulance, the speed limit, the position of the vehicle, and the route. All the data is sent onto a remote cloud service over the mobile network, and afterwards the driver can use any computer to log in and see the ride over and over again. He or she can do this alone, but most often the emergency ride is analysed in a group, enabling all the participants to learn a lot about their driving technique.

Ambulance drivers around Sweden have been testing this training method for two years. During this period, there have been no serious emergency-ride accidents, but it is still too early to know for sure that the training really reduces accidents. What the research does show, however, is that the drivers feel much safer when driving and have changed their driving style, particularly when taking over other vehicles. They have also lowered their driving speed, realizing that not much time is lost as a result. The drivers say that analysing people’s driving patterns in a group has led to a more open climate at the workplace.

Firemen and bus drivers are interested

The Swedish rescue service, too, has carried out tests to train firemen, and some large bus companies have made inquiries to find out if the method could help them train bus drivers. What is more, emergency units elsewhere in the Nordic countries, for instance the ambulance service in Norway, have sent information requests.

See the video below describing the DART system.

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