Distracted drivers in Wisconsin are leading to delayed response times for first responders

Posted at 11:08 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 15:02:16-04
Distracted drivers are leading to delayed response times for first responders in the Milwaukee area.
The goal is to get to the emergency as quickly as possible. But as TODAY'S TMJ4 rode along with the West Allis Fire Department, they saw first hand that drivers on the roads do not make it easy.
"It's been getting worse and worse. More distracted drivers, more people on cell phones," said Assistant Chief Kurt Zellmann of the West Allis Fire Department.
During a medical emergency call the ambulance was stalled repeated by other cars. One driver pulled into the intersection instead of waiting.
"This guy isn't moving over," said Firefighter/Paramedic Jake Dettmering as he was driving the rig.
The driver finally does move over a few seconds later. Another driver shoots ahead of the ambulance which was already going 10 miles over the speed limit.
"This guy wants to speed up because he wants to get ahead of us," said Dettmering.
But that is not the only concern. Often times the streets they need to get down are blocked.
"Double parking, sometimes triple parking, blocking intersections, nothing surprises our responders anymore," said Zellmann.
Cell phone video from a fire in Milwaukee last year shows a truck unable to get down the street to a fire where a toddler died.
A West Allis ambulance was also hit last year when someone started driving as the rig was turning. 
But on a daily basis it's drivers who pull over or who go through the intersection as the fire truck is trying to turn.
"We'd like them to yield to the right and move over and give the emergency the right away," said Zellmann.
Be sure and watch TODAY'S TMJ4 on Roku! We are the only station in Milwaukee to provide the latest news, weather and sports on the device. Search for us on Roku today!