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Old 4th November 2008, 11:26   #1
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Default Traffic Cops Apathy towards ambulance!

I was driving to work this morning and was the first car at the haji ali signal (mumbai). a few seconds later an ambulance with a blaring siren comes behind me... So, first i honk a couple of times to indicate to the traffic cops and RTO officers at the signal to let our side go; but they completely ignore my honks and the ambulance siren! Then i slowly start inching my car forward so as to give the ambulance room to snake through.
This apparently angered the cops! By this time our signal started and the ambulance moved on but the cops stopped me and told me they would fine me for honking and crossing the traffic line.
Only when i told them that i was a honorary police doctor and i would make them pay hell, did they relent and let me go.
What is shocking is that even senior RTO officers said, too bad, we can't mess with the traffic for one ambulance.
And this is not the first time this has happened, i've witnessed this on many occasions. Somehow though, i've seen fire engines always getting through - their siren being much more louder i guess.
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Old 4th November 2008, 11:46   #2
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There are a couple of issues here, somewhere either I read or saw on TV that there where a few cases of empty ambulances using Siren trying to wriggle their way out of a traffic jam in Mumbai because of which Police are not showing enough regard to ambulances in Mumbai. While in cities like Bangalore the traffic is so bad that its almost next to impossible for a traffic cop to let an ambulance through.

I remember an incident when I was driving to office one morning when I was overtaken by another car while I was trying to give way to an ambulance, this car was in front of the ambulance all the way until the next signal. Nothing new about this incident except that the car which overtook me had a "Lions Club" sticker on it. I dont know whether "Lion's Club" membership is for status or a genuine interest in serving people
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Old 4th November 2008, 13:53   #3
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This is indeed very sad. I just cant imagine the plight of the patient inside the ambulance.

When will we as a community get out of our petty selfish gains.

I dont understand the mentality of the ambulance drivers who blare the siren just so that they can make their way through traffic without a patient. Dont they have any respect for their job? If i knew that my one selfish action would probably endanger someone's life i would be **** scared to even drive that ambulance. These ambulance drivers need to realise the magnitude of their actions.

I would also blame the cops and the RTO, let the ambulance go even if it is not carrying a patient. The disgustful drivers if there is a doubt can easily be tracked. Why dosent a traffic cop on seeing an ambulance jump on his bike/Jeep and escort the ambulance until the hospital.

Two things would get sorted:

1. Because of the police escort the ambulance would get help easily to clear its way and could not have to depend on noble souls like Tejas above to try and make way for it. People like us would be relieved to see someone in authority is doing the job of clearing the traffic. It will also make the "ambulance chasers" (i know there is a different meaning too, but hope you guys get it) think twice before following the ambulance to try and take advantage of the movement of the ambulance.

Here the police dont need to be initiated by the ambulance folks to escort, every officier on duty with a vehicle assigned on the the ambulances route can be the escort - with a message send out on their handsets immediately to the control centre and other cops nearby.

2. Since the police is escorting the ambulance, the ambulance drivers better be carrying a patient. If not the cop can raise criminal charges against him for endangering other people and have him arrested on reaching the destination or as and when he can confirm there is no patient and the siren is being abused by the driver.

I know the cops wont do it, i know the ambulance drivers will not be charged. But i also know the above suggestion can work and help a lot of patients to get emergency services easily.

Tejas you being a Police doctor can you put forward such suggestions?
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Old 4th November 2008, 14:00   #4
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Cops being apathetic to ambulances is the norm pretty much all over India.
For a start i think we should not second guess whether an ambulance is in a genuine emergency or not. Let them go.I would rather err on the safer side than risking a life.

The escorting option would be a great one, only if it ever can be made to work...
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Old 4th November 2008, 14:05   #5
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Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
Tejas you being a Police doctor can you put forward such suggestions?
spitfire, we meet again! on different terms however...! ha ha ha

Anyways, i've tried many times before but to no avail.

I had also suggested to the police surgeon general about an escort. He said that the cops are anyways understaffed and under mobilized. They can't spare personnel and vehicles since many a times they may be sitting idle.

I had read somewhere that they are undergoing prototype trials for a new kind of chip in UK which is fitted to emergency vehicles. As soon a call is made, the software detects the nearest vehicle, dispatches it and traffic signals along the route detect the vehicle is approaching it and automatically switches the flow to facilitate car movement.

Wonder when it will reach india? any bets? i think 15 years.
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Old 4th November 2008, 15:08   #6
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Originally Posted by Tejas@perioimpl View Post
spitfire, we meet again! on different terms however...! ha ha ha
Hey what are you talking about, i dont remember anything Please dont say you took all that seriously. We are all friends here man. cheers:

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Anyways, i've tried many times before but to no avail.

I had also suggested to the police surgeon general about an escort. He said that the cops are anyways understaffed and under mobilized. They can't spare personnel and vehicles since many a times they may be sitting idle.
Yeah i knew this understaffed reasoning will be the spoke in the wheel. But it can be done. Somebody higher up needs to show the will. Many corporates or hospitals will promptly provide the vehicles needed for the escort. I am sure of that. The cops need to miss their duty only for the escort. Once at the hospital its back to the nearest naka. Again they need to be honest about it and not slip away for other things giving escort as an excuse.

Other then the functional aspect the honesty and willingness of the Police Force is the hindrance for such measures.

Quote:
I had read somewhere that they are undergoing prototype trials for a new kind of chip in UK which is fitted to emergency vehicles. As soon a call is made, the software detects the nearest vehicle, dispatches it and traffic signals along the route detect the vehicle is approaching it and automatically switches the flow to facilitate car movement.

Wonder when it will reach india? any bets? i think 15 years.
Like i say in a lot of my client meetings - Technology is as good as the person using it.

The option above will fail for 2 main reasons in India:

1. Everyone will think its too high fundoo when it is not.
2. Who respects signals anyways?

The most primitive methods that is commonsense and respect for rules alone will help the ambulance reach its destination on time to save the patient. All that is required is a will.

Until then keep up your good work.
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Old 4th November 2008, 15:24   #7
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Hey what are you talking about, i dont remember anything Please dont say you took all that seriously. We are all friends here man.
ha ha ha! Off topic, but we must meet up next time you are in Bombay. No hard feelings! Cheers mate.

Check this link on how to improve ambulance response times:
Home
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Old 4th November 2008, 15:24   #8
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Well I have been lucky a couple of times that I have broken signals to give way to the Ambulance. In fact I have seen cops allow the traffic waiting at a red light through just to allow the Ambulance the right of way.

But those idiots who drive behind an Ambulance are another breed - in fact sometimes I feel they are in a hurry to get into the Ambulance
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Old 4th November 2008, 15:36   #9
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This is still good that the other road users dont come and mess up with you.
Around in 2003, I was about to encounter a T junction. I had the dead end in front of me and I was to turn right. I saw an Ambulance ( Tempo Traveller ) coming from my right. If I had not stopped, the ambulance would have to slow down to let me pass. So I braked hard on my Bajaj Spirit. The small wheels get locked, but I stopped. I was doing around 40. But the real issue started after this. There was a bus behind me and he had to brake very hard from 35 or so speed. He came out and started yelling at me. I replied and said it was ambulance so I stopped, but he said " The Ambulance did not buy the road " and I left.

Recently when I was in 800, I had to face a similar situation at another T junction. I was to go straight and the the other part of T was on my left. An Ambulance was behind me and I had stopped at signal. I raised my hand from window and with expression from hand asked the cops if I can move as there was ambulance behind me. They said yes and one cop was near my car told me to just fastly cross the lanes ahead of Ambulance. Otherwise I wanted to stop after making space for Ambulance. But he asked me to move, so I did. Thankfully I was in petrol mode so could accelearte very hard. The ambulance also made its own way. But when I looked into RVM, I was shocked. Other road users that had stopped at signal also started moving after I " broke the signal ". It was a chaotic situation.

This goes to show that the people dont have any discipline or anything like that or courtsey for human being fighting for life and death. What can you expect from cops then ?
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Old 4th November 2008, 15:46   #10
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Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
This goes to show that the people dont have any discipline or anything like that or courtsey for human being fighting for life and death. What can you expect from cops then ?
I don't agree. Apple & Oranges. These are different things. You can't justify the cops behavior due to what happens after the ambulance passes. The cops can fine those cars if they wish. The ambulance must be given priority no matter what!

As for the ambulance chasers, as normally_crazy said "But those idiots who drive behind an Ambulance are another breed - in fact sometimes I feel they are in a hurry to get into the Ambulance"
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:00   #11
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ha ha ha! Off topic, but we must meet up next time you are in Bombay. No hard feelings! Cheers mate.
Hard feelings, err... we equate it to something else. So no hard feelings honest Will take you up on that offer. Be sure to get your pink car. He he just kidding.

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But those idiots who drive behind an Ambulance are another breed - in fact sometimes I feel they are in a hurry to get into the Ambulance
I am at a loss as to why they do what they do. Have we city dwellers degraded so much?
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:16   #12
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Spit and Tejas i agree with your view wholeheartedly. i am an egoistic fast driver and dont prefer giving space to any vehicle(Specially if its a VIP one) however i make apoint to always give space to an Ambulance and Fire Brigade as they are making efforts to save lives and if we can contribute even this much it would be great!

I dont care if Ambulance drivers are blowing siren without a patient i will still give them space to go ahead however it becomes the Duty of the Traffic police to ensure they keep a tab on these kind of drivers and charge them if they are found doing such an irresponsible act. Sadly in this country very less people bother about Law and Lives of innocent people :(
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:19   #13
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I don't agree.

Apple & Oranges. These are different things. You can't justify the cops behavior due to what happens after the ambulance passes. The cops can fine those cars if they wish. The ambulance must be given priority no matter what!
Actually there were two parts in my post.

1) From my experience in my city, the people and not the cops are usually the one not to give way to Ambulance.

2) In your case in your city, the cops had problem.

So to summarize, I said that the common man i.e. road users dont have any sense ( point 1 ), so it would not be very difficult to guess that cops ( point 2 ) also behave irresponsibly.

I never said that giving way to ambulance must not be done. Ambulance and Fire Brigade are the one that have absolute right to break any number of signals they want and also the railway crossings, if at all they encounter, also can be opened for them to pass.
My point was that the people who also broke the signal after I left are very irresponsible citizens. And the behavior of cops ( in your case ) just reflect the mentality and behavior of citizens ( irresponsible ).
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:19   #14
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Hi folks,

The understaffed and overworked police do give a minister an escort with as many vehicles as they can.

Coming back to the empty ambulance using siren to go fast:

What if the ambulance is going to pick up a patient / accident victim? Doesn't that constitute an emergency?

Last edited by trrk : 4th November 2008 at 16:21.
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:30   #15
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The understaffed and overworked police do give a minister an escort with as many vehicles as they can.
Heard of Hypocrisy? We are very good at it.

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What if the ambulance is going to pick up a patient / accident victim? Doesn't that constitute an emergency?
No one is contesting that aspect. But yeah we should have made that part clear. Lets say on duty, off duty instead.

Lot of drivers with off duty ambulances use the siren for clearing the traffic for themselves they might not be going to pick up a patient.

How do we know? Because i myself have seen a ambulance with the siren on, stop next to a small tea shop pick up a cigratte pack, walk back and drive off. This was on ORR in Bangalore.
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