August 25, 2021 6:43:09 am
A DAY after the two road accidents involving ambulances in Chandigarh, including a fatal one, the UT traffic police has decided to initiate a special drive to check the credentials of ambulance drivers along with the regulations of plying the health emergency vehicles in the city. The drive will be conducted along with the personnel of State Transport Authority (STA), local police and the health department.
Sources said, “It will not be easy for the police personnel to randomly check emergency vehicles like we do in case of ordinary vehicles, but we can examine the ambulances once these are stalled, stationed or parked. As per the initial strategy, the ambulances run by the Red Cross Society charitable trusts will be roped-in in this process.”
SSP (traffic/security) Manisha Chaudhary said, “ We are to launch a special campaign to coordinate with the local police, STA and health department to verify the background of all ambulances plying in the city. Indeed, the recent incidents of both driving rashly and carrying liquor are a concern. We are working on a strategy as random checking of vehicles on the road is not practical in case of emergency vehicles. We will find out about their certification mechanism and then do a check on all such vehicles in coordination with the concerned departments.”
“Being a capital of two states and having premier health institutes, including PGI, GMCH-32 in the city, hundreds of ambulances enter and exit Chandigarh everyday. Indeed, emergency vehicles always have priority to cross the road and even the vehicles are allowed to bypass certain traffic rules and regulations. But law enforcement agencies will have to develop a mechanism to prevent such road accidents. Liquor smuggling in emergency vehicles can be dealt with through human intelligence work,” said Harman Sidhu, a road safety expert.
In June 2016, a fake ambulance racket was busted in Chandigarh. The racket was being operated from PGIMER. At least 10 persons including PGI security guards were arrested in the case and about a dozen vehicles being used as ambulances were seized.
A speeding Innova ambulance, bringing a patient from Barnala to the UT, had hit at least six vehicles, killed a scooter rider and injured six others near Piccadilly roundabout on Monday. The patient was unhurt and taken to PGI in another vehicle. Hours later in the night, an ambulance attached with the NHAI rammed into Sector 32 roundabout. Three cartons of liquor were found in the ambulance and the driver was found drunk. He was arrested on the spot.
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