EMS Provider & Patient Safety in Ambulances

Cartoon image of ambulance crashing with text that says “When ambulances crash EMS provider & patient safety”

NHTSA collaborates with national organizations and Federal partners to provide EMS leaders with the traffic crash data, research and resources needed to promote improvements in ground ambulance safety.


Ambulance crashes present a serious risk to patients, the public and EMS providers. While ambulance safety has received more attention in recent years, several challenges remain, from simple solutions such as increasing the use of restraints for both providers and patients to more complicated ones, like conducting ambulance crash tests and designing safer ambulances.

What’s Happening Now

After studying nearly 20 years of data gathered from investigations of fatal ambulance crashes, the NHTSA Office of EMS has developed presentations and other resources to illustrate how proper use of restraints — for both patients and providers — has a significant impact on the outcome of ambulance crashes. NHTSA continues to work with its Federal partners to collect, analyze and share data that can improve the safety of ground ambulances.

The NHTSA Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) collects complaints about ground ambulance vehicle and equipment defects to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists. If a defect is identified, ODI works with manufacturers and the industry to resolve the issue to help save lives. Learn More or File a Complaint.

Who’s Involved

NHTSA partners with a number of organizations to research and improve provider and patient safety, including state and local EMS offices; Federal partners, both inside the Department of Transportation and at other agencies, such as the National Institutes for Safety and Technology and the Health Resources and Services Administration; and national EMS organizations.

What You Can Do

  • First and foremost, ensure that you, your colleagues and your patients are always properly restrained when inside a moving ambulance.
  • Download the ambulance safety infographic and share it with your EMS colleagues on social media and in the station.
  • Report any potential safety issues with an ambulance or other vehicle to the NHTSA Office of Defects Investigations.