After a new circular was issued by the Delhi Traffic Police on Tuesday, obstructing the path of an Ambulance on city streets will now be seen as a serious offence that can potentially initiate legal action and a monetary fine of INR 2000/ or more.
Just like most other countries across the world, in India too emergency vehicles like police patrol cars, ambulances, and fire trucks have an overriding right of way over all types of motorized traffic on the right-most lane of all major roads. However, in most Indian cities, this rule is rarely followed and as a result, ambulances and other emergency vehicles often have to get stuck in traffic like any ordinary vehicle.
The grim picture can be easily comprehended from the fact that between May 2014 to Dec 2014, at least 26 ladies had to deliver their babies inside an ambulance while stuck in the traffic.
“All a hospital has to do is report to us the vehicle number, date and time of violation and proof, if any,” special commissioner of police (traffic) Muktesh Chander said, while speaking about the new circular. “We will verify the facts and issue legal notice if the charges are proved. Defaulters will have to pay a fine of Rs 2,000.”
The top cop also said that he would reach out to all hospitals in the city and request them hand over information about errant drivers their ambulance staffs come across on Delhi streets. He also mentioned that requests have been made to the state health department as well as the Union Health Ministry to ensure that ambulance drivers are properly sensitized on the legal provisions.
“The letter was sent on September 8 last year, but we did not get any feedback. So now we have decided to contact all hospitals directly,” he said.