Responders Urged to Stop Distracted Driving

With radios, sirens, lights, onboard computers, GPS locators, license plate scanners, you name it, there's little wonder that responders are distracted.


"Gadgets in emergency vehicles are now seen as a peril," Gillum said, noting that some might dispute that, saying the technology is useful in police work and emergency responses for ambulances and fire apparatus. Gillum, however, is of the mind that computers in the cruiser are at least as dangerous.

"What are we doing typing on the computer in the cruiser?" Gillum said. "I'm a police officer, not a police communications officer. We pay good money for those people. We need to keep focused on what we do, not typing on a computer."

Gillum said he's heard a recent trend that suggests people are taking computers out of their cruisers for the same reason that people are being discouraged from texting and using the cell phone -- they are distractions.

"We should know better," he said. "Responders are held to a higher standard. We have to be good drivers."

Gillum is convinced that just as technology has made distracted driving worse, it will also make it better with things like voice control applications and automatic license plate scanning, which has already been introduced in the market.

"Cruisers, and ambulances and fire trucks are being built with more gadgets today than you can shake a stick at," he said. Not all of its bad, he added, but all of it needs to be put in its place and used only when safe and appropriate.

"There's a saying in the UK and that is 'Just Drive,'" Gillum said. "We need to remember that here and remember that safe driving is a full-time job... Let's bring both hands back to the wheel and both eyes back on the road and just drive."