State highways will soon have 950 ambulances to ensure every emergency call can be responded to within 20 minutes. The vehicles will be delivered in three batches, with the first batch arriving in the next two months.
Taking note of the number of accidents on the state's highways, the government, in September 2011 invited bids for ambulance services. However, only two bidders showed interest. Subsequently, a fresh call for bids was made in December last year.
“The response from bidders has been good. Once the scrutiny of bids has been done, the government will go for the ambulances,” said Dilip Bhujbal, superintendent of police (highways).
Each ambulance will be kitted with emergency equipment, and will have medical staff trained in trauma care. These vehicles will respond to calls coming from a call centre.
The highway police are also hoping to prevent accidents by installing automated speed guns. “We are studying how automatic speed management is being done in London. We will have to customise it to our needs,” Bhujbal said.
The state's highways claim thousands of lives each year. In 2011, as many as 10,531 people lost their lives while 12,340 died in 2010 and 11,403 in 2009 in accidents on state highways.
Meanwhile, data compiled by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has revealed that 89% accidents on the expressway occur because of human error. Monday's accident which killed 27 people on the expressway is a grim addition to the statistics.