JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.
As the traffic in the streets of our large cities becomes greater, and the number of rapidly-speeding trolley cars, automobiles, mail and express wagons and other vehicles becomes larger, the accidents to hospital ambulances grow constantly more frequent. This is lamentable because the ambulance service is primarily intended to save life and suffering and many of these accidents add to the amount of suffering and sometimes even cause fatalities.
The public is prone to make way for an ambulance, if only proper warning is given and sufficient opportunity provided to allow of yielding the right of way. There are very few people who fail to have a thrill of sympathy for the errand of mercy on which the ambulance is bound. This is a bit of humanity that exhibits itself even in the midst of the greatest hurry and bustle. The public can scarcely be expected to do more in this matter than they do at present. It would seem, therefore, that a reduction in the number of accidents to ambulances must come rather from a stringent enforcement of certain precautionary regulations than from renewed efforts to have the right of way, which is so equably granted, made more effectual.
AMBULANCE SPEED.. JAMA. 2007;298(6):691. doi:10.1001/jama.298.6.691-a