Motorists in a city in eastern China have been condemned for clogging up an expressway emergency lane, delaying an ambulance on its way to hospital with an injured man.
The man’s distraught daughter pleaded with drivers and kowtowed to them to let the ambulance pass after they failed to pull over in Luan, Anhui province, on Friday night, according to footage on video site Pear Video.
The ambulance’s siren blared for over 10 minutes but no car moved to get out of the lane until the woman made her desperate appeal, the report quoted a witness as saying.
“The mother was so anxious that she knelt down and kowtowed. She was crying and saying ‘I beg you’,” the witness said.
The man was injured in a traffic accident on Friday night and it took the ambulance more than half an hour to pass the blocked section of road on the way to hospital, the report said.
The witness estimated the journey should have taken about five minutes if the lane had been clear.
Earlier reports stated the patient was the woman's son, but during the investigation, police clarified that it was her father in the ambulance.
Chinese law restricts use of emergency lanes to fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and rescue vehicles, but it is routinely ignored and the lanes are often blocked, especially during peak travel times.
About two weeks ago, an ambulance with a patient took about 40 minutes to get through a 4km section of jammed expressway near Xiangtan county in Hunan province, Hunan Transport Radio reported.
The ambulance’s driver had to sound the vehicle’s siren and used a loudhailer to get other vehicles to move out of the emergency lane, the report said.
“Emergency lanes are the pathway to life. Blocking them is indirect murder,” the driver, Zhao Longzhang, was quoted as saying.
In 2017, a motorist deliberately slowed down and braked unnecessarily in front of an ambulance in Jinan, Shandong province, Jinan police said. The patient died in hospital two hours later.
In most cities, violators risk a fine of just 200 yuan (US$30) and the loss of six points from their driver’s licence.
Police in Tongling, Anhui province, said they fined 2,000 motorists for using emergency lanes during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday period.
“Violations are rampant because the cost of breaking the law is too low,” one person commented on Weibo.
“If the authorities made the punishment tougher, such as revoking driving licences, fining people 10,000 yuan and putting them in detention, I bet no one would drive his car in the emergency lane,” another suggested.
An internet user from Guangdong said the fine for the offence in Shenzhen was 3,000 yuan and abuses of the law were lower. There are no official figures to substantiate the claim.
“But I know a lot of people use emergency lanes to get somewhere quicker once they’re out of Shenzhen. What uncivilised behaviour!” the Guangdong commenter said.
This article Chinese woman forced to make desperate plea to motorists blocking ambulance with injured father first appeared on South China Morning Post