Polish Parliament officially started working on the laws allowing car radios to be jammed by an approaching emergency vehicle in February 2020. What is this whole jamming about? How does it work? Does it makes sense to implement this type of alert on an emergency vehicle like e.g. an ambulance, to Polish legal system? And finally since when you can Polish expect emergency vehicles to jam your car radio ?
EMERGENCY VEHICLES TO JAM CAR RADIOS: HOW DOES IT WORK IN PRACTICE?
The whole idea of alerting motorist about approaching ambulance or a police car also via overriding a radio broadcast is relatively new. And in a nutshell it works as follows.
When an emergency vehicle (an ambulance, a police car, a firetruck etc.) gets sufficiently close to your car, the emergency vehicle’s jamming system is activated. Automatically or by the emergency car crew member and as a result your FM radio channel playing inside your car is overridden and relays the message: ‘Warning, ambulance approaching. Give way.’
The alerting systems give even a possibility to deliver the alert message in different languages. Depending on the registered language of the FM radio channel being broadcast in your car ,the warning system will play the message in either local language of the country you are currently in or e.g. in English.
Obviously this alerting system is a computer program integrated with emergency vehicles.
THE “THIRD SIGNAL’S” BENEFITS
All emergency vehicles in the world alert drivers about their presence using two signals. First of all lights and secondly sirens.
The ambulance or other emergency vehicle lights and sirens can be seen or heard by drivers up to 50 meters away only. And the worlds roads are getting busier each year if not each month even
I am pretty sure that whenever you live now, you can observe how the traffic is constantly getting heavier.
I used to drive to work 40 minutes. Now, it takes me almost an hour and I am slowed down by traffic jams in places where there were none even only a year ago.
Ambulances, police cars, firetrucks and other emergency vehicles use the same roads we all do and they keep being slowed down by drivers. Either their lights and sirens are not seen on time by you a driver or you simply cannot safely move out of the way of the approaching emergency vehicle as other cars block you.
The radio alert (the “third signal”) system allows the ambulance or other emergency vehicles to forewarn you and other drivers much further ahead then only when the ambulance is 50 meters away from you.
And this is not just a theory as there are countries who already tested the benefits of the third signal and even incorporated this enhancement into their legal systems.
PIONEERS OF EMERGENCY VEHICLES JAMMING CAR RADIOS
Qatar is regarded as the pioneer country which decided first to test an international FM radio over-broadcast system this type of alerts in practice since 2016.
Alerting motorist in this way turned out to be so efficient that even a more advanced alerting system was tested during a three- month pilot phase starting in September 2019, as Qatar’s government informed. The system is tested only in ambulances so far. The software enables ambulance crews to send a message to cars up to 300 meters ahead.
Depending on the registered language of the FM radio channel being broadcast in each car, the warning system plays the request to clear the road for the ambulance in either Arabic or English.
However, Qatar is not the only country experimenting with giving the emergency vehicles a possibility to jam car radios. The third signal is also being tested e.g. in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) or in Sweden if we think about more European neighborhood.
EMERGENCY VEHICLES TO JAM CAR RADIOS IN POLAND: HOW ADVANCED ARE THE WORKS ON NEW LAWS?
If you have ever driven a car in Poland, especially in one of bigger cities like Warsaw, Cracow, Poznań, Wrocław, Katowice or Gdańsk, then you are not surprised that the idea of emergency vehicles jamming car radios has gained fans in here. Firemen from Poznań (Komenda Miejska Państwowej Straży Pożarnej w Poznaniu) from have taken it even further and inspired our Parliament to have a closer look at this idea and possibilities to implement appropriate legal solutions to make it work in reality. As a result, around 2 weeks ago, Polish Parliament had formed the Parliamentary Group on the Third Signal for Emergency Vehicles (Parlamentarny Zespół ds. Trzeciego Sygnału dla Pojazdów Uprzywilejowanych). This Parliamentary Group aim is to prepare the suitable changes in Polish laws to make it possible for emergency vehicles to jam car radios informing drivers an emergency vehicle is approaching. The legal works at the Parliamentary Group ar expected to last for at least 1 year. Currently, the possibility of cutting the car radios broadcast is planned for the ambulances, the police and the firemen vehicles but is it not excluded Polish Parliament expands it also for e.g. Municipal Guards (Straż Miejska) or the State Security Service (Służba Ochrony Państwa).
I will be watching closely those works for sure. I will be watching closely those works for sure. Especially that this third signal solution has opponents in Poland already. Surprisingly, members of our medical emergency services do not seem to be the greatest supporters of this idea. The non- enthusiast of jamming the car radios by emergency vehicles approaching state that the current legal solution set forth by Polish laws are completely sufficient. We do not need another expensive software, what we need is a change of the drivers’ mentality, according to them.
I admit I do see their point.
Best regards, Prawstoria