NHTSA Launches Research Effort to Characterize Ambulance Driver Training in EMS Systems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting a study on ambulance driver training as part of their efforts to find ways to reduce ambulance crashes and increase the safety of EMS personnel. 
Operator training is one method that has proven effective in virtually all domains to reduce human error and thereby increase the safety of operations. Although training for ambulance drivers has been repeatedly identified as an important step in the emergency medical services safety system, not much is known about the extent and quality of such training taking place across the United States. 
Study Objective
The objective of this project is to characterize ambulance driver training across the United States. We are interested in learning if and how agencies providing emergency medical services train and regulate drivers of Type I, II, and III ambulances. This project will document the types of driver training offered, when this training is required, how driving incidents impact driving privileges, initial qualification standards, and other related topics. The results of this study will allow the EMS community to not only understand how others across the United States provide and regulate training, but create a foundation on which to build future evidence-based training curricula.
Study Approach
The project will entail the development and deployment of a survey of local agencies providing emergency medical services. The emphasis of the questionnaire will be on delineating the type and content of the training delivered to ambulance drivers, as well as on laws, rules, and regulations governing ambulance operation, including training and education requirements. The survey will also request that agencies submit copies of any training materials they use to better help researchers understand the types of training being delivered. This includes any materials that have been adapted from other domains (e.g., fire or police EVOC) to train ambulance drivers.    
How You Can Help
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) is assisting NHTSA and its partners, C2 Technologies and Dunlap and Associates, with this research project by helping educate first responders about the study. It will be several months before the researchers contact local agencies to participate in the study. If your agency uses Type I, II, or III ambulances, please complete the survey when you receive it. 
The NVFC is also collecting training materials and other EMS and rescue resource documents to be part of an online reference library. The study will digitize any materials you provide and the NVFC will link to these materials on its web site for other organizations to use. If you would like to submit your resources for the online reference library now, click here or email them to Rachel Buczynski, NVFC Program Manager, at Rachel@nvfc.org.