Colorado Ambulances Using Subwoofers To Clear Traffic

A dozen ambulances from Denver Health have been equipped with subwoofers capable of shaking the ground as they approach other vehicles, a new system they had hoped will make drivers finally begin to yield for emergency vehicles.

The 100/200-watt siren amplifiers point at the ground and generate a frequency low enough that it causes vibrations against anything outside of the ambulance. According to officials the experience is like pulling up next to a club kid who is blasting their bass at full sound.

Scott Bookman, chief paramedic for Denver Health EMS tells the Denver Post:

“They vibrate the entire ground. People can feel it throughout their car. It’s pretty neat.”

Denver Health tested the subwoofers for 18 months and will now make them standard issue for all new vehicles.

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The new system is important as paramedics try to reach every single call location within nine minutes. Bookman points out that quick response times are specifically important during cardiac-arrest calls.

With the new system ambulance drivers are finally able to grab the attention of text messaging and other distracted drivers who may not hear the sirens or see the flashing lights from inside their own vehicles.

Denver Health also points out that the new system will help save the lives of drivers who fail to pay attention to emergency vehicles, often pulling out into traffic with tragic end results. In Denver alone more than 70 people are ticketed each year for failing to yield to emergency vehicles. Since police must witness the act to ticket those drivers the actual number of people who fail to yield to emergency vehicles is probably much higher.

Would the ground shaking with sirens and flashing lights be enough to make you immediately pull over or at least stop your vehicle?