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Study of Emergency Vehicle Warning Lighting: Inferences About Emergency Vehicle Warning Lighting Systems From Crash Data

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2005
2 pages

This summary report provides results of an examination of emergency vehicle crashes and the safety effectiveness of emergency vehicle warning lamps.


Finding from the study indicate that (1) emergency vehicles are involved in fewer angle crashes in the dark and (2) changes in the warning lamps on fire trucks with the 1998 model year may have improved their safety effectiveness. Also, an examination of police accident reports for crashes involving firefighting vehicles in Florida suggest that there may be a substantial number of multiple-crashes in which drivers of the nonemergency vehicles did not detect the emergency vehicle, which in turn suggests that stronger warning lamps might be beneficial. Suggestions for improvements include stronger warning lamps to reduce crash risk and given the possibility that there is a tradeoff between the conspicuity of warning lamps and negative effects of those lamps, options for waning lamps that may change that tradeoff seem worth considering. Approaches for further research are presented. This report provides a summary of a study examining emergency vehicle crashes and how warning lamps could be modified to increase safety.

Date Published: July 1, 2005