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National Ambulance calls on motorists to ‘give way’ to emergency vehicles

By Wam

The National Ambulance has launched a social media campaign calling on motorists to ensure that they give way to ambulances and emergency vehicles, to allow efficient response to emergencies and critical incidents.

Via a short video, the National Ambulance is joining the UAE Ministry of Interior's efforts to raise a nation-wide public awareness campaign on the dangers of not clearing roads for emergency vehicles, along with the stricter measures being applied to ensure that motorists abide by road laws and provisions.

Commenting on the announcement, National Ambulance CEO, Ahmed Saleh Al Hajeri, said, "Working together as emergency partners under the Ministry of Interior’s umbrella, we are able to make this a successful campaign and serve the best interest of the nation.

"Our common objective is to instil a culture of good driving behaviour and the readiness to give our crews the right of way, allowing us to pass. We urge motorists to act responsibly on the road and follow the positive driving attitudes we are promoting via this campaign and support emergency responders - ambulance, police and civil defence - in effectively responding to emergency situations."

Al Hajeri added, "Every second is critical in an emergency. The advice we are raising through our video and other elements in our campaign fall in line with MoI’s strategic objectives to achieve the highest levels of traffic safety and enhance the efficiency of emergency response, thus contributing to the protection of lives and property and the decrease of deaths and injuries resulting from traffic accidents, as well as the achievement of a safe road environment."

The campaign urges motorists to take simple steps in the event an emergency vehicle is passing to ensure their driving behaviour does not delay or hinder the emergency crews from reaching their destination. These include: remaining calm and not panicking; slowing down; using light indicators, moving the vehicle to the left or right-hand lane, when it is safe to do so, without endangering their life or the lives of others to allow the ambulance to pass.

The emergency medical provider is also calling on road users to avoid bad driving behaviour, observed by ambulance crews in the field, that pose a threat to everyone on the road. These include following an ambulance to get out of traffic and using the hard shoulder, which is an emergency lane that should always be clear for emergency vehicles. Unwarranted driving behaviours also include distracted driving, rubbernecking, or slowing down to take photos when passing an accident scene, which further increases traffic congestion and makes the incident worse.

The Ministry of Interior recently announced the revision of the violation of "Not Giving Way" to emergency vehicles, ambulances, police cars and official convoy vehicles, stipulated in the Federal Traffic Law, to AED3,000, six black points and a one-month impoundment of the violating vehicle. The new regulation comes into force on 1st July.

The Ministry also announced that it is in the process of conducting civil patrols to monitor violations against emergency and official vehicles, and also use smart systems as well as road and emergency vehicles’ mounted cameras, to ensure the safety of the public and enable emergency vehicles to reach their desired locations as quickly as possible.

National Ambulance provides emergency pre-hospital care in the Northern Emirates through the dedicated 998 emergency ambulance number and NA 998 smart application. Its primary task is to handle public medical emergency response and provide high standards of emergency pre-hospital care to citizens, residents and visitors across the Emirates of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.