Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has instructed the Interior Ministry to develop changes in legislation to increase the responsibility of drivers, who obstruct the traffic for special purpose vehicles, such as ambulances.

According to the Cabinet's press office, the Premier demands to introduce severe punishment, including driving ban, for drivers, neglecting traffic rules and impeding ambulances to do their job.
The innovation will also concern the traffic of fire engines and rescue vehicles.

ForUm has been thinking how effective the innovation can be and asked specialists to comment on the situation.

Vasyl Zaychenko, lawyer, former head of the traffic safety center of the State Traffic Police of Ukraine:

- If the upgrading of penalties will be clear and systemic, it will certainly help. The problem of Ukrainians is that they think it does not concern them.  They do not realize that an ambulance they do not let pass now could be going some other time to their mothers, relatives or friends.
According to the Cabinet's decree, it must take not more than 10 minutes for an ambulance to respond to the call. If city drivers do not let ambulances pass, paramedics will never come on time
Penalties must be systemic so every driver knows his every violation will be taken on camera and he will have to pay a fine. The next time this driver will not violate any traffic rule.
Yuri Gaydayev, MP of Ukraine, former healthcare minister, member of the VR committee on healthcare:

- This problem has already drawn to a head. In all civilized countries, drivers let ambulances pass immediately, because they know it is a necessity. Unfortunately, in our country drivers do not make way even if there are free lanes.
I am absolutely sure that the innovation will improve the situation. Many drivers, I used services of, do not make way for ambulances. Everybody speaks about it, but the problem remains. People do not realize that this ambulance may go to one of their relatives or friends. I believe we must upgrade penalties for drivers, who do not get out of the way of an ambulance or fire engine.
Viktor Serdyuk, president of the Council on patients' rights and safety:

- Finally, the Healthcare Minister has started implementing standards of medical assistance on the legislative level. When responsibility for ambulance's failure to arrive on time because of some driver who did not make way will be introduced, drivers involved will face not only an administrative liability, but also a criminal one.
To set order and establish the level of responsibility we are working out documents and instructions to protect doctors, who cannot arrive on time because of someone else's fault. These documents will be submitted to the Interior Ministry, traffic police, prosecutor's office.
Paramedics will register every minute of traffic, including license plates of cars, which did not make way, and will report on why their ambulance has not arrived on time. If, heaven forbid, a patient dies, the driver of a car, which obstructed the traffic, will face criminal charges. If we stiffen penalties for careless drivers, the situation will improve. Moreover, registration will help to explain and prove why this or driver did not make way for an ambulance - on purpose or due to overall traffic.
Vitaly Yarema, former head of the Interior Ministry state department in Kyiv:

- I fully agree with the innovation. If drivers do not make way for special purpose vehicles, it must be considered as creation of incident.

But let's talk about those who use these siren horn. What services? According to the law, these are ambulances, fire engines, rescuer vehicles. But we also have other cases, when VIP-persons use siren horns to get to work or home. If Premier's statement concerns these people as well, it will be great. Otherwise, the statement is a simple declaration of intentions, which will never be implemented. First of all, we must stiffen penalties for so-called guarded persons.

There is a certain sense in Premier's statement, but I think it would not change much. It won't be able to stop the chaos on Kyiv streets. Even if we increase fines, those people who spend thousands of dollars for a dinner in a restaurant, will not have problems with paying a three-thousand fine to the traffic police. I believe we need to take different measures as for violators of traffic rules.
Andriy Vasilishyn, interior minister aide:

- I need to study the official documents to give you a full answer. However, I can tell you now that we do need to sort out the mess regarding drivers and parking, especially if it obstructs the traffic of special purpose vehicles. Some drivers have become so bold that they ignore all kinds of sirens and soundings.


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