Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

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Nereus
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Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by Nereus » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:38 am

Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/specia ... recent_box

Motorists and rescuers have backed calls to hike penalties for drivers who fail to give way to ambulances with critically injured patients on board, saying the current punishment is too soft.

They expressed their support after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on April 26 received a petition calling for harsher punishment for motorists who fail to give way to ambulances.

The petition came from two social media influencers -- Weerakij Akaracho-tewit, administrator of Street Hero Project page on Facebook, and Phakphum Dejhasdin, administrator of Mor Lab Panda page on Facebook.

The paid have called for an increase in the current 500 baht fine to 10,000-20,000 baht, and suspension of an offender's driving licence from 1-3 months.

Also, drivers who intentionally block emergency vehicles causing an on-board patient to later die could be charged with a criminal offence.

The call for more severe punishments arises after a motorist recently refused to make way for an ambulance that was taking a critically ill patient to a hospital. The ambulance arrived late and the patient was pronounced dead at the hospital. On April 6, social media user Kenzaa Standby posted a video clip of a Suzuki Swift sedan sticking to the right lane despite the tailing ambulance's lights and blaring siren.

Prasit Raemkhonburi, 61, who was being taken by ambulance from Lat Krabang Hospital to Nakhon Ratchasima's Khon Buri Hospital, was pronounced dead later that day.

The driver who failed to allow the ambulance to overtake was called in by police on April 10 to hear the charge of failing to make way for an ambulance, which is only punishable by a 500 baht fine.

The incident has attracted criticism from the public with motorists been urged to be more considerate and attentive to the sounds of sirens and the warning lights of emergency cars.

Sanchai Chasombat, deputy secretary-general of the National Institute for Emergency Medicine (Niem), said he fully supported the call for harsher penalties for motorists failing to yield for ambulances as it would change driver behaviour dramatically.

"A 500 baht fine, in my opinion, is too soft. Drivers will not care if they think the consequences of getting caught are manageable. The fine should be no less than 5,000 baht if you want to change road users' behaviour,'' he said.

Dr Sanchai said some motorists fail to give way because they are busy on the phone or not concentrating on the road.
Some drivers simply do not care because it's not their family inside the ambulance, he said. "If the penalties are too severe, a driver will have to think harder before violating the rule," he said.

According to Niem's statistics, traffic problems caused about 20% of the deaths of emergency patients while on the way to hospital. The institute's study also found some people did not understand that they should give the right of way to an ambulance, he said.

"Everyone should be aware that one second could mean life or death for patients in need of medical care,'' Dr Sanchai said.

He said motorists should not be in any doubt when seeing an ambulance on a road whether it is really taking a patient to a hospital.
Instead, they should raise their own awareness and learn to give way to an ambulance without being required to do so by a law.

Sompob Wanalee, an ambulance driver at Sirindhorn Hospital, said he also backed the idea of raising fines for drivers who fail to give way to ambulances as he has seen this kind of behaviour often when transferring patients.

"I have noticed people don't realise there's an emergency vehicle trying to pass through. We have to force our way to save the patient and zig-zag between the cars because cars won't let us pass. This puts us and the patient at risk of getting into an accident and not being able to reach on time," he said.

Some, he added, did not know what to do and panicked. This is especially common among new drivers.

"It's not easy for us to find our way between cars and people need to know that it's an emergency when the sirens and lights are on and should give us space. We've also noticed some motorists who get confused and instead block the road," Mr Sompob said.

He said even though some drivers may have the intention of making way for the emergency vehicle, not all know how to do it. "I think motorists should be trained on how to give way to emergency vehicles," he said.

Nares Songsang, a member of the Por Tek Tung Foundation, a rescue foundation which often turns out for accidents, said he is often stuck in traffic when taking patients to hospital.

"It gets extremely difficult and stressful," he said. A moderate case can turn severe at any second if an ambulance does not move fast.

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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by Big Boy » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:46 am

I have no problem with that, in fact I already try to get out of the way. However, I hope they take similar action against the abusers who fit emergency lights to their vehicles to use in heavily congested areas. It's dickheads like these that entice people to stand their ground, and not give way.

Additionally, how many times have we seen emergency vehicles switch their lights on as they approach congestion, and switch them off when the congestion ends?
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by Big Boy » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:48 am

What about the police escorts for tourist buses. At night, you give way to the emergency lights, only to find you're giving way to a convoy of tourist buses, blocking the outside lane.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by StevePIraq » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:02 pm

legislation and fines are not the answer in Thailand, though they must be in place, these are already there for countless issues and Thais just ignore the rules. One day Thai's may actually become educated caring people and not have to be forced to do things, they will do it because it is right.

Just look at how people react to a siren in Germany, decent law abiding individuals.

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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by HHTel » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:15 pm

Making the fines more realistic is a step in the right direction. They should do the same with other traffic offences then there may be some progress.
Equivalent to blocking an emergency vehicle (I think) are the idiots who use the hard shoulder in traffic jams. They are meant to allow access for emergency vehicles. Using the hard shoulder in this way is the same as blocking an emergency vehicle and should be treated the same.

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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by StevePIraq » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:44 pm

I agree, however laws are not well enforced in Ting Tong Land, adequate laws and penalties must be implemented and enforced but this will not happen in TTL. A cultural change is needed to make roads safer for everyone.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by RCer » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:08 pm

Wonder where they might learn what to do? Here's a thought, Formal Driving School taught in ALL public schools at age 15.

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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by HHTel » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:27 pm

That's assuming that kids take onboard anything learnt at school.

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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by VincentD » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:30 pm

RCer wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:08 pm
Wonder where they might learn what to do? Here's a thought, Formal Driving School taught in ALL public schools at age 15.
A bit late as the kids are already driving their parents' motorbike to school by the time they're 11.. Bad habits already ingrained from the time they are pillion at age 3.. Without the helmet.

Those new (car) drivers are really hardcore motorbike riders who can now afford to get four wheels but still drive like they have two.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by VincentD » Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:33 pm

I do, however, notice more awareness of emergency vehicles in Bangkok and people do try to give way even in bumper to bumper traffic.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by laphanphon » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:12 pm

Would also be nice if the ambulance would drive around all day with their flashing lights on. I've seen them many times, just sitting in traffic, 1st in line at a traffic signal, in no hurry, with lights on.

Too many time, simply driving around in non-emergency situation, with lights on. Kind of lose respect when you put yourself on the shoulder, and now can't get back, and it wasn't an emergency.

If someone isn't dying, or you got pizza and heading home, turn the lights off.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by caller » Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:25 pm

VincentD wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:33 pm
I do, however, notice more awareness of emergency vehicles in Bangkok and people do try to give way even in bumper to bumper traffic.
I agree with this and not just in Bkk. That's a big change in just a short period of time.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by Gregjam » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:02 pm

Perhaps the recent publicity has helped but as has been said, until the respect is mutual and flashing lights mean an emergency and not just a tourist escort or pizza going cold. We all know how poor the implementation of the rules is, in itself something that if addressed would reduce accidents.
On the flip side it is the end of the month and I had to chuckle this morning following a Farang on a motorbike with his helmet hanging from the handlebar going along the railway road toward the station. Unlike the Thai next to him who had no helmet and suddenly stopped to so a U turn he seemed oblivious to the BIB in the shade and my first thought was "kerching" as he got pulled over.
I always pull over for ambulances although it has to be done carefully to avoid the motorcyclists undercutting you or the guy behind who seems more intent on cojoining your vehicles. If the current campaign saves one life it is worth it but I am not optimistic that any improvement will last.

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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by Big Boy » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:09 pm

I've mentioned in another thread about the traffic gridlock around town today. On 2 occasions, I've seen the flashing lights of an ambulance a distance behind me. Both times I worked out a plan of where to in the unlikely event of the ambulance getting as far as me, but neither ambulance stood any chance of getting through. Even if everybody had tried to let them through, I don't think they'd have been successful.

I just hope the patients got to hospital in time.
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Re: Fine hike call for ambulance blockers

Post by 404cameljockey » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:48 pm

caller wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:25 pm
VincentD wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 3:33 pm
I do, however, notice more awareness of emergency vehicles in Bangkok and people do try to give way even in bumper to bumper traffic.
I agree with this and not just in Bkk. That's a big change in just a short period of time.
Yes, I've seen traffic usually do their best to move aside on Petchkasem Road for an ambulance in solid traffic.
laphanphon wrote:
Sun Apr 29, 2018 4:12 pm
Would also be nice if the ambulance would drive around all day with their flashing lights on. I've seen them many times, just sitting in traffic, 1st in line at a traffic signal, in no hurry, with lights on.

Too many time, simply driving around in non-emergency situation, with lights on. Kind of lose respect when you put yourself on the shoulder, and now can't get back, and it wasn't an emergency.

If someone isn't dying, or you got pizza and heading home, turn the lights off.
Reminds me of the words of an ex police driver in London who when seeing a police van speeding through traffic with lights and siren would mutter 'huh, cat up a tree'.

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