Transcript for Tired EMS Workers a Prescription for Danger on the Roads, Experts Say
We're back with "Gma investigates" and this is wild. Ambulance drivers dozing off at the wheel. The government says fatigue among ems workers is a serious problem but amazingly there are no federal regulations in place to protect them or us. And ABC's Tom llamas has the story. Reporter: You're watching an ambulance on a busy L.A. Freeway heading straight tors a parked car pulled over on the shoulder. Inside the ambulance behind the wheel this ems worker who you can see right there apparently dozing off right before impact. The driver in the car Jeffrey Johnson. Out of nowhere I was just pushed and hit. I felt all this blood and everything coming down over my face. Reporter: What you see is a driver who is classically sleep deprived and you see that he's trying very hard to keep his eyes open. Reporter: Here's another case. Caught on camera. This time in New York. This ems worker apparently dozing off while driving hitting and injuring a woman across the street. You hit her? Reporter: The driver didn't want to comment. The ambulance company told us, our work rules limit the amount of consecutive hours worked and ensure time off between shifts. Drivers who exhibit any sign of fatigue do not work their shift. Both of these incidents led to lawsuits that settled with the companies not admitting liability. Now growing concern that the people who are saving our lives could be putting themselves and others at risk because of fatigue. Our early research does point to this being a national issue. Reporter: Daniel Patterson has been studying ems workers he and fatigue since 2008. Greater than half of these appear to suffer from mental and physical fatigue at work. Reporter: One reason for the on the job fatigue, shifts that are frequently long and demanding. Other reasons include lack of rest between shift, job stress and a large percentage of ems workers taking multiple jobs. And he says the resulting fatigue has been linked to injury and accidents. The driver of this ambulance saying he was so tired he actually dozed off while driving crashing into a utility pole and overturning the vehicle. Earlier this year the national highway traffic safety administration said that many ems workers across the entire industry are working in sleep-deprived and fatigued states, a very dangerous situation. For "Good morning America," Tom llamas, ABC news, New York. Tom, thank you. Nhtsa tells ABC news they will form a research team as early as this month that will help get programs and now it's mainly up to the state and employers to take care of their
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