'The things that keep us up at night': Reckless driving threatens first responder safety

Posted at 10:33 AM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 23:41:16-05

When you call 911, you want the people who can help you to get there are soon as possible, but a dangerous driving trend is threatening those first responders on their way to your emergency.

Bell Ambulance Paramedic Chris Anderson says every day they see examples of reckless driving behind the wheel of their ambulance.

"These are the things that keep us up and night, the safety of our staff," Anderson said.

For 20 years he watched Milwaukee's streets get more and more dangerous.

"People are driving much faster, they're not paying attention to traffic lights, stop signs, lane markings, simple things, its become a bit of a free for all," Anderson said.

Lt. Michael Ball with the Milwaukee Fire Department says it's dangerous when the public doesn't take the right steps for first responders.

Milwaukee Fire Department PSA

"We always tell people if it was a family member of yours you'd want us to be there as quickly as we can," Ball said. "And when we have to deal with things like that it certainly can slow us down a little bit."

If you don't pull over, you could get a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

In 2017, Milwaukee Police issued 50 of those tickets. Last year they wrote 60. So for this year, they've given 45 tickets.

Those tickets start at $250.

"The scariest thing is people have gone from distracted driving to reckless driving," Anderson said.

"You never know what people are going to do and so you have to drive very defensively," Ball said.