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Effect of an onboard event recorder and a formal review process on ambulance driving behaviour

Abstract

Background Onboard event recorders in vehicles record external and internal video before and after when preset g-force limits are exceeded. The use of these recorders in a fleet of ambulances, along with formal review, may decrease the number of unsafe driving events. The aim of this study was to evaluate the number of driving events since the inception of DriveCam technology in a fleet.

Methods 54 vehicles were outfitted with DriveCam event recorders in 2003. Events were captured and assigned a categorical severity score of 1–4 (1 being the lowest severity) when the vehicle exceeded preset g-force limits. An event was assigned a score of ‘good’ if the review determined that the driver demonstrated good judgement. A review and feedback process was implemented in August 2006 and analysed through June 2008.

Results During the study period, 2 979 891 miles were driven for 115 019 ambulance responses, with 6009 events captured. Events were categorised as follows: 2008 (33.4%) level 1; 3726 (62.0%) level 2; 175 (2.9%) level 3; 3 (0.05%) level 4; and 97 (1.6%) good events. The proportion of all events per mile and all events per response decreased over time with use of the recorder and review and feedback.

Conclusions The institution of video event recorder technology along with formal review and feedback resulted in a change in driving behaviour. Given that call volumes increased and driving events decreased, these measures may serve as surrogates for improvements in safety and maintenance costs. Economic analysis is necessary for conclusions on fiscal impact.

  • Ambulance driving
  • camera
  • paramedic
  • emergency ambulance systems
  • prehospital care

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