Florida Highway Patrol Complaint - 911; Sorry...wrong number?
The weather has been rainy in the South Florida area recently. Many drivers fail to be extra cautious, and thus, roadside fender-benders and guard-rail collisions have become as common as mile markers on some of our freeways.
Yesterday, while traveling the freeway, I witnessed a car heading northbound on the Florida Turnpike swerve across three lanes of traffic and slam into a guardrail. It seemed to be a serious collision, although I wasn't entirely sure since I was heading southbound. Nevertheless, I decided to phone emergency services to report what I witnessed.
I dialed 911. The operator came on the line fairly quickly, stating "Miami-Dade County 911; do you need police, fire or medical?"
I explained that I just witnessed an accident on the Florida Turnpike.
The response: "Stay on the line, let me transfer you to Florida Highway Patrol."
A couple seconds later, a gentleman's voice states "Florida Highway Patrol."
As soon as I stated the location I was calling about, he states, "Stay on the line, let me transfer you to that sector."
A couple seconds later, another operator states "Florida Highway Patrol; do you have an emergency?"
I explained that I just witnessed an accident on the Florida Turnpike northbound, just north of 88th street. She then asks the relevant information, such as the vehicle description, if there are any injuries to my knowledge, etc.
Shortly after hanging up the phone with the last dispatcher, fortunately I did witness a few FHP troopers racing northbound with lights/sirens activated, presumably to the scene of the accident.
There really needs to be a better emergency response system in place. I understand that there are different public safety agencies, each having their own jurisdiction, and dialing 911 from a cell phone can often misroute the call. However, measures need to be taken to reduce this from happening, perhaps through consolidation. Being transferred from agency to agency until you finally reach the right dispatcher for your area should not be tolerable during emergency circumstances, when precious seconds are being lost that could mean the difference between life and death.
I hope that driver turned out okay. Fair warning to all; slow down during inclement weather..not just for the sake of your own life, but the lives of others as well.