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Police should ensure smooth ride for emergency vehicles


10:27, January 15, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Local police departments have been urged to ensure smooth road access for ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency vehicles in a bid to reduce losses of lives and property.

"Local traffic police departments should take initiative in coordinating with fire-fighting, health and work safety departments," according to a circular released Monday by the traffic bureau under the Ministry of Public Security.

The circular came amid heated discussions on a woman who died after her ambulance got stuck in traffic.

Last month, an ambulance carrying a 55-year-old woman who was severely injured in a traffic accident spent 40 minutes on a jammed 3-kilometer stretch of road on the way to a Beijing hospital, according to previous reports.

The ambulance driver reportedly continued to sound the vehicle's alarms but few vehicles moved aside and even the lane for non-motor vehicles was full of parked cars. The woman died in the hospital after treatments failed.

Local traffic authorities were told to provide road information, control traffic lights and guide traffic flows in a timely manner once they receive emergency assistance requests from above-mentioned departments or citizens involved in an emergency.

According to the circular, in serious cases, police cars should be dispatched to lead the way for emergency aid vehicles.

The ministry urged local departments to monitor and severely punish drivers whose vehicles illegally occupy emergency lanes or fail to give way to emergency vehicles.

In addition, the ministry urged local traffic departments to strengthen management and education on traffic rules for drivers of emergency vehicles, banning them from using emergency lanes in non-emergency situations or sounding sirens at will.

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