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Waze May Help First Responders Arrive at Accident Scenes Faster

Waze, a popular navigation app for drivers, could alert law enforcement and other first responders about car accidents well before traditional methods — and contribute to more positive outcomes in the process.

The collaborative GPS and traffic-alert app collects data from users to build more accurate reports about road conditions. While using Waze, drivers can report car accidents, objects in the road, potholes, lane closures, and other driving obstacles. With this data, each user is provided with notifications if they are approaching hazards, as well as more precise navigation information based on the delays caused by those hazards. Additionally, Waze offers drivers with directions for the fastest route to their destination, working to avoid whatever traffic issues its users reported.

Wired reported on the efforts of the Department of Transportation to apply data from Waze in order to improve collision response times. Studies, such as one in the Jama Surgery medical journal, demonstrates that Waze has helped improve these times: “By comparing the data from the Google-owned service with crash data from the California Highway Patrol, the researchers concluded that Waze users notify the app of crashes an average of 2 minutes and 41 seconds before anyone alerts law enforcement.” Data from Waze is also more comprehensive than some traditional highway data, as users report everything, including minor crashes that may not have been the subject of any official report.

The Department of Transportation aims to elevate the benefits of this data, by researching how Waze can actually help predict the possibility of accidents before they happen. Using reports of previous accidents, as well as information on road conditions, officials can identify “problem areas” on the road and respond accordingly.

More widespread use of Waze data to detect accidents could lead to less injuries and fatalities, if first responders are able to get to crash scenes quickly and treat victims. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision, schedule a free consultation with Humphrey & Associates to discuss your case.

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