Ambulances & their drivers in India: The need for stricter safety norms
I have seen multiple ambulances in my lifetime from the humble Omni to the latest Force Motors ambulances but I do not feel they are safer than their non ambulance versions.
BHPian A777R recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
As can be seen here in this video, you could blame the driver, cow, roads, rains or the toll booth employees. But the primary problem seems to be that the ambulance skidded on the rainy tarmac and that resulted in multiple fatalities.
I have seen multiple ambulances in my lifetime from the humble Omni to the latest Force Motors ambulances but I do not feel they are safer than their non ambulance versions. I think safety features such as 6-8 airbags, speed limiters, ABS, ESP etc should be made mandatory for all ambulances and old ones should be retired. I know India lacks ambulances and all this results in extra cost but if the government is focusing so much on car safety then it should not ignore emergency vehicles.
I met an EMT in the US and their ambulances are top notch (they are issued bullet proof vests as well) where I would feel safe if I ever have the misfortune of riding in one.
Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:
There is already a severe shortage of ambulances in India, especially out of the metro cities & for the lower rungs of society. Impose newer “safety regulations” and you’ll make them more expensive, pricing them out of what many patient families can pay. It will also drastically impact supply.
Hence, I will say no. We have to think practically sometimes. Practical like I’d said earlier, I have no qualms in using a 0-star car as a local runabout.
What can be done instead is to impose a little more stringent training for ambulance drivers as they have to weave through traffic, drive through red lights and many times, even go the opposite way in 1-way lanes.
Here’s what BHPian Gypsian had to say on the matter:
Most of the ambulances in India are Force Travellers, Omnis and other Force vehicles which are inherently not stable due to the body on frame design and height. Of course ambulances do need height, but specialized vehicles as found in foreign countries have more stable vehicles to be redesigned as ambulances. It’s high time all the aforesaid safety features are mandatory to ambulances. Hats off to Indian ambulance drivers who drive such unstable vehicles at insane speeds.
Here’s what BHPian libranof1987 had to say on the matter:
I feel, the drivers are just as big a problem as the ambulances (rather, choice of vehicle for an ambulance) themselves. Let us not patronize them.
What does it take to be an ambulance, or for that matter, any emergency services vehicle, driver in India? Is there any mandatory training? Unlikely. When these drivers are expected to drive (an unsafe) vehicle at high speeds through dense traffic carrying a vulnerable patient, they should have ideally gone through intense training – handling vehicles at high speeds, manoeuvring, reflexes and crash/slide/lack-of-control recovery.
Instead, very highly possibly, anyone can just walk up to be one. Let’s address this as urgently as regulations for ambulance vehicles.
I haven’t even broached the abuse and misuse of driving an ambulance, that’s for another day.
Here’s what BHPian RedTerrano had to say on the matter:
The thing about accidents, is that they happen. All over the world. Here is some official statistical data to put things into perspective:
Source for the above.
Coming back to the video.
It is obvious the ambulance was traveling at high speed which is to be expected. I am no expert but can any vehicle of that size have latest high tech in place and an excellent driver behind the wheel, actually stop at that distance to avoid the cow?
I think not.
Going purely by the video, I do not see how more stricter safety regulation could have avoided the accident.
Here’s what BHPian sagarpadaki had to say on the matter:
In the above video, I feel there is more than what meets the eye. I feel there was a mechanical failure in the Ambulance looking at how the toll plaza employees scampered to clear the barricades. Maybe they were intimated that the incoming ambulance is unable to stop/slow down? No sane driver, whatever the emergency will do such high speeds when nearing the toll plaza. The emergency vehicles do have dedicated lanes to avoid wait times. The barricades are promptly removed when an emergency vehicles approach. But toll gate employees do not scamper around like how they did in the video.
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