Despite overcrowding of city roads, emergency response vehicles such as ambulances, PCR vans and fire tenders have right of way. Willfully obstructing an ambulance, and not allowing it to pass at its required speed will now bring forth a penalty of Rs 2,000 and legal action. A move that has long been awaited, as a number of vehicles will not even make an effort to let an ambulance pass by. It is mandatory to give way to emergency vehicles like Ambulance, Fire Brigade and PCR Vans, and not doing so can invite heavy penalty, or jail, or both.
A circular to this effect has been issued by the New Delhi Traffic Department and goes back to September 2014 and as per Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander, no complaints have been received to date. It has also been decided that the extreme right lane, on roads that have three or four lanes, be used exclusively for emergency vehicle, while these emergency vehicles can also use the opposite road to save time and precious lives.
The traffic department is taking this issue seriously and ambulances will need to keep record of any vehicle blocking its path, while hospitals will also have to maintain records of time, date and license number of the vehicle that obstructed the ambulance. This can be achieved if each of the ambulances is fitted with cameras. This information should be handed over to the police for further action while the police will verify facts and issue legal notice if charges are proved correct. It is a collective responsibility.