Our investigation focuses on potential problems involving Moduvans, the low-end ambulance manufactured by Wheeled Coach, the largest ambulance manufacturer in America.
The Ambulance Transportation Safety Task Force, an ad hoc group of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals, is working hard to increase the level of protection of people riding in ambulances. The ATS Task Force is a deep source of information on this issue.
Believe it or not, the National Transportation Safety Board doesn't investigate ambulance crashes and doesn't plan too either.
In a January 25, 2008 letter to Mark Rosenker, the Chairman of the NTSB, Eileen Frazer of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems writes...
"It is ironic that our society depends on EMS - emergency medical transport services - to respond to these accidents, save lives and transport in a system with no transport safety oversight and in vehicles that have no oversight of crash absorbing franes or design as there is for automobiles and other passemger vehicles.
"We may be moving towards new technology in our personal vehicles only to be involved in a serious or fatal accident in the ambulance that was meant to save us.
"It is ironic that we know how many fatal and serious accidents involve trucks and buses, but there is no centralized database to track and trend serious ambulance accidents and only an unreliable source to even track fatal ambulance accidents."
In a position paper released last month, the ATS Task Force says:
"ambulances have up to 3-6 times the crash fatality rate per vehicle than the general vehicle fatality crash rates, and up to 30 times the fatality rate per mile traveled."
The ATS Task Force urges the NTSB to:
1) Begin investigating major ambulance crashes, starting with the horrendous ambulance crash in Ohio, July 20th, 2007 that killed five occupants in the ambulance.
2) Strongly recommend that existing federal data bases be expanded to include all major ambulance crashes.
The task force includes some of the leading experts in the country. You can learn more about the group and the issue of ambulance safety by going to the website www.objectivesafety.net