No! Do not be aghast; you have reached a conlusion too fast. I am just trying to conjure a scenario which I am sure is very likely to happen at some point of time in our cities, that is of course, if something like this has not already happened. I was coming to office today and believe me I was caught in one of the worst traffic jams I have witnessed in Hyderabad in a long time. I could hear an ambulance waliling in the background, which translates into "There is an emergency here, please get your vehicles off the road". Well, I really did not see any change in the pattern of traffic. Either the siren was a regular there or the people had turned deaf from the incesssant honking which is so much a characteristic of Indian drivers, Hyderabadi drivers being one of the worst.
I could think of a few reasons why there was no discernible reaction to the siren.
Lack of training among the drivers.
Believe me, it is only later on in life that I realized why is a driving license , acquired by proper means, important. Driving is just not about moving a vehicle from one place to another, dodging other moving metallic pieces at high speed. It is about sensitizing a driver about the rules of traffic. Why are hazard lights important, what precautions to take when on wet roads, not to mention what should you do if you hear/see an ambulance jostling for a way forward. People are just to enamoured with instant gratification."I know how to drive, why should I go to an RTO and get a license by standing in a queue. Middlemen will do it for me". This apathy and ignorance, not just on part of the license holders but also on part of the government and concerned departments is costing many people their lives.
Lack of training among the traffic policemen
Sometimes, I suspect that the only training these police personnel especially among the junior ranks like constable et al, receive, is to salute any V I P car passing their way. They just galvanize into action the moment a siren of the different kind fills the air that of an IAS officer or that of a politician. At other times they just go through the motions of waving their hands. This is not to take away from them the stellar and definitely unenviable job of manning traffic islands which are civilised fuming chambers. But I am sure these guys need to be strict and innovative on their job.
Scandinavian countries have been truly professional when it comes to the quality of road services that they provide. Like a company is responsible for its products any damage that its products may cause, even Scandinavian countries are assuming responsibilty for the accidents occuring on their roads. They are targetting ZERO deaths on their roads. I think Indian governments, at the centre and at the state should similarly hold itself responsible for any loss of life and/or opportunity that results from its failure to provide its citizens with adequate if not excellent infrstructure.