Ambulances involved in more than 400 crashes over last four years

National Ambulance Service says incidence of vehicle damage very low and many were minor incidents

Ambulances were involved in crashes more than 400 times over the past four years.

The National Ambulance Service said there were also nineteen occasions last year where one of their vehicles broke down due to a puncture, mechanical failure, or warning lights which needed immediate investigation.

In the first half of this year, ambulances were in 69 crashes while the full-year figure for 2022 was 114, according to figures provided under FOI.

There were a further 117 crashes or mishaps involving emergency vehicles in 2021 and a total of 113 in the year before that.


The National Ambulance Service said that the number of incidents of vehicle damage was very low and that many were minor incidents.

They added: “Approximately 40 per cent of all vehicle damage arises from reversing incidents, ie narrow gates or overhanging obstacles during poor visibility in emergency situations.”

The NAS said that the 114 incidents of damage in 2022 came during 390,000 separate emergency calls, which was a minuscule proportion of the overall call-outs.

They also said there were only 19 occasions where ambulances had to be taken off the road last year due to technical issues or mechanical faults.

“No patient safety, staff safety or other road user issues emerged as a consequence of any vehicle incident in 2022,” an information note said.

The NAS said that because ambulances had to work at “design extremes” a robust inspection schedule was in place with each patient-carrying vehicle examined every eight weeks.

They added: “Every day, the NAS deploys approximately 160 to 180 emergency ambulances, an average of 22 rapid response vehicles and in excess of 50 officer response vehicles operating from over 100 locations around the country.”

They said they did not hold any detail on how much had been paid in compensation and legal fees for claims from staff or members of the public arising from accidents involving ambulances.

An information note said: “[These claims are] managed by the State Claims Agency on behalf of the HSE. The NAS does not hold this information.”