Motorists Jumping Signals To Clear Path Of Ambulance Won’t Be Penalised, Say Thane Traffic Police

Motorists Jumping Signals To Clear Path Of Ambulance Won’t Be Penalised, Say Thane Traffic Police

Letting ambulance pass is basic duty and signals don’t matter, say traffic cops; difficult to navigate in absence of cops, say ambulance drivers.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Tuesday, September 05, 2023, 05:38 PM IST
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Ambulance | Manvender Vashist

“Make way for us,” say the ambulance drivers who express their frustration over the lack of empathy from citizens failing to create paths for emergency vehicles despite the blaring sirens. However, citizens are more concerned about the restriction of space to move, and more importantly, of being penalised for jumping signals.

Motorists jumping signals to clear the path of an ambulance won’t be penalised

Addressing their concern, traffic cops clarified that motorists jumping signals to clear the path of an ambulance won’t be penalised. Dr Vinay Rathod, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Thane Traffic Police, states that giving clearance to siren-blaring ambulances is a basic duty and not a violation.

He explained, “If someone crosses the signal line and touches the zebra crossing, it's a violation since it endangers civilians crossing the road. However, if the signal line is crossed or jumped to give clearance to a civilian inside an emergency vehicle, it's technically not a violation. If there is a traffic cop present, he would not penalise the motorist for jumping the signal.”

The Electronic Enforcement Cell in Mumbai, located at Traffic Headquarters in Worli, utilises 'Red Light Violation Detection Cameras' that captures traffic offences live and generates an e-challan against the violator. These cameras can identify the vehicles’ registration numbers and issue e-challans against motorists who cross stop lines or jump red lights.

If an e-challan is issued incorrectly, motorists can approach the grievance cell

If an e-challan is issued incorrectly, motorists can approach the grievance cell to explain the situation and have the challan revoked. “A grievance cell is present at every traffic outpost or division. One can explain themselves and revoke the challan. But several people misuse this method by making up stories to save themselves from fines after breaking signals. The ones who don't have wise intent, they can always approach the grievance cell,” said a traffic official.

Additional commissioner of police (Traffic), M Ramkumar, emphasises that making way for ambulances is a basic duty, and traffic cops always follow the norms when it comes to emergency vehicles. However, ambulance drivers highlight that cooperation from motorists is crucial, particularly when there are no traffic police present.

The problem arises when there are no traffic police on the spot

An ambulance driver, Atik Khan, said, “The problem arises when there are no traffic police on the spot. If our ambulance is jam-packed between many vehicles and the traffic light goes red, we get stuck there, blaring sirens, but not one vehicle will move to let us go. Despite knowing that there is an emergency patient inside, the people here lack empathy.” Khan added that while ambulance drivers have not faced penalties for jumping signals, they can only do so when other vehicles provide them with space, usually with the assistance of traffic cops.

Another ambulance driver, Shripad Desai, echoed the sentiments that it is only through the traffic police’s assistance, can they make their way through traffic. He recounted an instance where they managed to save a patient's life despite being stuck in the tight traffic at Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) in Bhandup due to the assistance of traffic police in the chowki nearby.

Vehicles can’t move an inch due to traffic jam

However, that is not always the case, he said dejectedly, “Often during peak hours, especially in Andheri areas or the Western Express Highway, vehicles can’t move an inch due to traffic jam. In times like those, we are helpless. We could hear the patient’s family crying, but it all ended up to nothing since there was no moving space for us.

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