2012 News

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06 December 2012

New Booklet Advises How To Share The Road With Emergency Vehicles

Research revealed at the launch of the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) new booklet, ‘Sharing the Road with Emergency Service Vehicles’ has shown that in the period 2007 to 2011, there were 54 collisions* on Irish roads involving an ambulance or fire engine. In these collisions, 81 people were injured and 2 people were killed. The launch of the booklet took place today, Thursday 6 December in McKee Barracks at the Irish Defence Forces in the Phoenix Park.

To help road-users to understand how to share the roads with emergency vehicles, the RSA has joined forces with a number of emergency service organisations to produce a booklet called ‘Sharing the Road with Emergency Service Vehicles’. The purpose of the booklet is to advise motorists how to summon emergency services when required, what to do when they encounter emergency vehicles on the road and how to share the road safely with these vehicles. The booklet is the result of collaboration between the RSA and An Garda Síochána, Civil Defence, Defence Forces, Irish Coast Guard, Irish Prison Service, National Ambulance Service and the Chief Fire Officers Association and Emergency Services.


Speaking at the launch, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said: ‘This important booklet will provide road users with clear information on how to share the road with emergency service vehicles. Road users react in very different ways to the sight of an emergency vehicle, without realising there is a recommended set of procedures. I also want to thank the emergency services for the lifesaving work they do every day’.

Mr Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said, “Every day, the Emergency Services save lives in the course of their work and as is the nature of their work, every second counts when they are responding to an emergency. However, many road users don’t know what to do when they hear sirens, and sometimes they panic and take actions that impede the emergency services in their response to emergency situations or which put other road users at risk.”

“This booklet will help road-users to understand how to behave on the roads if they are sharing the road with an emergency service vehicle so that they can give adequate space and time to those responding to an emergency situation.” Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) Major-General Conor O'Boyle said, “The Defence Forces is delighted to be part of this campaign which will ultimately lead to safer roads by helping road-users to better understand how to share the road safely with emergency service vehicles.”

Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips, An Garda Síochána said, “I would urge all road-users to exercise caution when they are sharing the roads with emergency vehicles. It is particularly important to anticipate the presence of emergency services vehicles on the roads which means regularly checking your mirrors and correct observation of the roads so that you can respond in good time.”

Robert Morton, Director of the National Ambulance Service (NAS), welcoming the publication of the new Emergency Services Booklet by the RSA, said that “NAS Emergency Vehicles cover approx. 14 million miles per annum. While the number of traffic related incidents are extremely low, the launch of this Booklet will be of invaluable assistance in our efforts to improve the safety of services to for staff, other road users and most importantly to our patients.”

Irish Coast Guard congratulated the RSA on this excellent initiative. He went on to say that “IRCG, continually seeks to impress on its emergency response drivers that use of Blue Lights impacts all other road users and can generate unusual reactions. The RSA booklet will fill an important gap in safe driving and all road users are strongly encouraged to take the time to read and reflect on its very coherent and sensible recommendations”.

Mr. Seamus Murphy, Chairman of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association welcomed the launch of the booklet and expressed his thanks to the Road Safety Authority in developing such an initiative. Chief Fire Officer Murphy went on to say that “Every second counts in an emergency situation and anything that the public can do to assist the emergency services in making progress to these incidents, by way of the guidance published today, is to be welcomed”

The booklet is available in hard copy by request from the RSA and is also available to download from http://rsa.ie/Documents/Road%20Safety/Leaflets/Leaf_booklets/RSA_Emergency_Vehicles_A5.pdf and the websites of the individual emergency services. Hard copies of the new booklet will also be distributed by the various emergency services.

For further information or media queries, please contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008

Some Basic Tips when sharing the road with Emergency Service Vehicles (ESVs)

It is important to be alert and attentive at all times. Remember to keep noise levels in your vehicle at a level that allows you to hear the sirens from emergency vehicles. Be particularly alert at intersections. Observe your surroundings as emergency vehicles may come from behind you or from a secondary road.

When an emergency vehicle approaches and you see blue flashing lights or hear sirens:

  •  Clear the way as soon as you can do so safely.
  •  Never mount the kerb unless you absolutely have to and, even then, only if you are certain that there are no pedestrians in the area.
  • Check your rear view mirrors to gauge the speed of the emergency vehicle/s and also look out for pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users.
  • Indicate your intention to pull over. Pull over only in a space that has enough space for the emergency vehicle/s to pass safely.
  • Stay there until the emergency vehicle has passed. Watch out for other emergency vehicles as there may be more than one.
  • Indicate that you’re going to pull out again. When it’s safe to do so, gradually merge back into traffic.


  • Tailgate or overtake an emergency vehicle
  • Race after an emergency vehicle to get through a traffic light
  • Break a red light or speed to allow emergency vehicles to pass unless you’re directed to do this by the Gardaí or emergency services personnel
  • Pass a moving emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights

Collision Statistics

*Collisions where an ambulance or fire engine was involved, 2007-2011.

Year Collision Type Ambulance Fire Engine
2011 Minor 4 2
Serious 0 0
Fatal 0 0
2010 Minor 12 1
Serious 0 0
Fatal 1 0
TOTAL 13 1
2009 Minor 14 2
Serious 0 0
Fatal 0 0
TOTAL 14 2
2008 Minor 6 1
Serious 0 0
Fatal 0 0
2007 Minor 5 2
Serious 3 0
Fatal 0 1
TOTAL 45 9

*Casualties where an ambulance or fire engine was involved, 2007-2011.



Year Casualties Ambulance Fire Engine
2011 Minor Injuries 6 2
Serious Injuries 0 0
Fatalities 0 0
2010 Minor Injuries 20 1
Serious Injuries 0 0
Fatalities 1 0
2009 Minor Injuries 18 3
Serious Injuries 0 0
Fatalities 0 0
2008 Minor Injuries 8 1
Serious Injuries 0 0
Fatalities 0 0
2007 Minor Injuries 12 7
Serious Injuries 3 0
Fatalities 0 1

To contact Emergency Services  please call 112 



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