I symphatise with the problem private ambulances face, but the core issue is the NON-STANDARDISATION of the VEHICLE makes people not realise there is an ambulance at the back.
There just need alot of changes to the industry too, as they are at fault too. Being in the medical profession, I see the light in both ways, as the driver and as the medical person in the back.
Just having red warning lights and siren won't just do, people can't see them from far, and that there should be proper guidelines to what is considered an EMERGENCY AMBULANCE and not a FERRY AMBULANCE which looks typically , a Van or Minibus used by the SAF with a Red Cross. A Van Jenazah or carrying the dead looks just the same.
1) Strobing lights with BLUE LIGHTS at the height of about 1.2M is needed to let the driver in front see there is an ambulance behind him needing the right way.
2) Our traffic lights require the IR Strobe Sensors installed so that if one is approaching, the light automatically change back to GREEN ALL AHEAD for them to pass, just as how in Malaysia, UK, US and Europe has implemented.
3)The ambulances must be of standard spec. I suggest either the same of the US version of the Ambulance which the SCDF is using, or at least a Merc Vito, LDV Transit equivalent. They must be painted with FLORESCENT GREEN and SUPER BRIGHT COLORS all about. Along with the LED Strobe lights of blue and red, these will make sure the ambulances are not tailed.
4)Proper Education. Ambulance Drivers must learn NOT to take the task easily and AVOID TRAFFIC JAMS. Why they face issues when the SAF "Ghostbuster" sirens are given way is that their hospitals are in grid locked areas such as Beach Road, Siglap, Orchard Road and many more....compared to CGH, SGH, AH, TTSH which are just off MAIN HIGHWAYS! Saving lives are the cause of their work, so just get to ANY hospital first , then transfer later. Otherwise, a Helivac is more appropriate.
5) Fines and Cameras are useless when a life is lost. Government and local authorities has to play their part too. Ambulance companies too... must know that their business is to save lives.. and must not take things easy. Hospitals too must be adequately free of hindrance. That person inside may be your child.
I have at many times took the critically ill to hospital in my own personal car,be it them bleeding their guts on my sofa as I know every minute counts and I don't get anyone holding me up when I have my hazard lights on and flashing headlights..... so why the ambulance?
Dr R Azrin