Сurrently, the issue of the necessity of first aid training for professional drivers causes much dispute all over the world. Approximate first aid training programs are developed by the executive authorities, carrying out the legislative regulation in the health care sphere. The official statistics shows that there is a correlation between road safety and first aid training for drivers (IFRC, 2015, p. 6). The given research paper will discuss the importance of first aid training for professional drivers in different countries of the world, emphasizing the current situation in the UAE.
First Aid and Driving
Specifying the drivers of heavy vehicles as first aid providers, the countries of the word thereby authorize this category of citizens to render help and lay hope on the manifestation of social activity on the part of the drivers. First-aid treatment is a very important point for the preservation of the lives of victims (IFRC Health and Care Department, 2009, p. 4). It happens due to the fact that any healthcare delivery system at the pre-hospital stage is able to provide the instant arrival of the ambulance to the scene, while severe, or even irreversible injuries, in the victim’s organism can develop in a short period of time.
In order to understand what first aid is, it is necessary to define the meaning of the concept “first aid”. First aid is the type of help rendered to the victims and patients at the pre-hospital stage by people without medical education before the arrival of the emergency medical service to the scene. It includes a package of elementary actions directed at the elimination of early injuries developing in an organism and the saving of human life (IFRC, 2015, p. 6). Thus, first-aid treatment brings benefits not only to the victim, reducing the medical consequences of a road accident, but also protects a driver. The assessment of the accident’s consequences also takes into consideration the driver’s activity.
Due to the delays in the health care provision in the road accidents, over 23% of victims were killed (Alfaki, 2002, p. 484). The causes of death include bleeding, asphyxia, and other conditions requiring immediate pre-hospital medical care that victims did not receive on time (Global Road Safety Partnership, 2015). The level of road traffic fatalities directly depends on the timing of the provision of the emergency medical aid to the victim. Proper and timely first aid can save the lives of people before the arrival of professional medical workers to the scene (Safety and Traffic Solutions Abu Dhabi, 2013).
According to the research conducted by the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), there is an obligation to take the first-aid course for the drivers in the majority of the countries of the world. In other European countries, first-aid courses are not obligatory for the B category drivers, but should obligatorily be taken by the drivers applying for the category C, D and E (Global Road Safety Partnership, 2015). For example, in Germany, the volume of first-aid courses covers only four hours, while in Austria – six hours. In Finland, the 16-hour course is necessary only for the categories D and E. In France, there are first-aid courses within the frameworks of the comprehensive school; therefore, it is not obligatory to take this course in the driving training programs (IFRC, 2015, p. 12).
One of the major factors limiting the participation of professional drivers in first-aid treatment is the fear of the legal prosecution in the case of errors during the first-aid treatment and unintentional infliction of harm to the victim. The existing legislation of the majority of the countries worldwide in this case protects the drivers giving first aid (Global Road Safety Partnership, 2015). Therefore, criminal and administrative legislation do not recognize the infliction of harm in the interests protected by the law in the emergency condition – the elimination of danger directly menacing the personality or the rights of the person if this danger could not be eliminated by other means (Alfaki, 2002, p. 485). At present, there are no judicial precedents of the legal prosecution for the unintentional infliction of harm during the first-aid treatment.
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There is a correlation between road safety and first aid training. First pre-medical care should be provided in different, often unfavorable situations, such as heavy traffic, country roads, under different weather conditions (heat, rain, snow, or frost), at night-time, etc. It is known that if the victim is in the condition of a clinical death no longer than 3 minutes, the probability that the victim’s life can be saved makes 75%. If this period increases up to 5 minutes, the probability of the saved life decreases down to 25%, and it is almost impossible to save a person after 10 minutes of the clinical death state (IFRC Health and Care Department, 2009, p.5). First aid should aim at relieving the victim’s state of health, the elimination of the direct threat to life, and the preparation for the evacuation to the medical institution.
The UAE is one of the countries with high death rates in road accidents. According to the statistics, represented by Brigadier Al Zaabi, the Traffic Coordination General Directorate at the Ministry of Interior, 712 people died due to the road accidents in the country in 2014 (Shahbandari, 2016; Hammoudi, Karani & Littlewood, 2014). Heavy vehicles constitute the biggest group of the traffic members, subject to unsafe driving and road accidents. The total number of the road accidents was 919, of which 499 accidents belonged to heavy vehicles, which was 10.42% out of the whole number of accidents in 2015 (WAM, 2016).
However, there is positive dynamics in the rates of deaths caused by the road accidents. In 2015, the death rates in the UAE dropped by 5,2% in comparison with 2014, and the quantity of injuries – by 5,1% due to the increase of road safety and the implementation of the national first-aid program for professional drivers (Hammoudi, Karani & Littlewood, 2014, p.8). Statistically, the total number of the road incidents decreased by 3% as compared to 2014, despite the fact that the number of the registered cars considerably increased in 2015 (WAM, 2016). Also, the officials state that there is “a significant decrease in the number of traffic accidents at the countrywide level, from 4895 traffic accidents in 2014 to 4788 accidents in 2015. It constitutes a decrease of 107 accidents, accounting for 2.2 percent in 2015” (WAM, 2016).
Owning to the use of the sport cars, developing the speed up to 300 km/h, the average response time of the paramedics in the UAE is four minutes. Such cars are intended only for the emergency transportation of the patients in the critical condition. They are not exploited in the transportation of all categories of patients. They are equipped with oxygen pillows, heart defibrillators, pulse measurers, the means for imposing plaster bandages, the computer database of the UAE citizens, and the communication with the local medical institutions. The paramedics pass special courses to drive such supercars.
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There are many first-aid training programs for professional drivers all over the world. According to Bayraktar, Celik, Unlu & Bulut (2009), the basic program includes the ABC training (A – airways, B – breathing; C – circulation), comprising the study of such concepts as shock, bleedings, various diseases, the maintenance of the first-aid kit, and other subjects important for first-aid treatment. Also, first-aid courses inform the rescuer about the security measures and the actions accepted for the purpose of effective assistance, at the same time, without subjecting themselves and other people to the risky situations. Both professional and regular drivers make up the target group of the training participants. The main goal of the courses is to increase the qualitative level of the drivers’ first-aid training for the injured victims in the road accidents (Bayraktar, et al., 2009, p. 50). Usually, the main tasks of such courses include:
· The formation of steady first-aid skills in drivers;
· The implementation of the first-aid training of the drivers throughout the country (in the majority of the countries worldwide);
· The increase of the motivational approach in first-aid training for professional drivers in road safety.
According to Shahbandari (2016), the first-aid training program includes studying the rules of the heart-lung reanimation, mastering practical skills of the urgent reanimation, the bleeding stop, etc. Moreover, the drivers receive psychological training for the urgent reaction to the road accident and self-protection in the emergency situation. Besides, the drivers are also informed that legal responsibility for the provision or intentional non-provision of first aid is imposed on them. Finally, the course aims at propagandizing first aid for the drivers and the increase of the drivers’ motivation (Shahbandari, 2016).
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The financial expenditures for the road and transport constitute millions of dollars. The general annual losses from road accidents several times exceed the damage from train accidents, fires, and other types of accidents combined. However, the human losses are the most painful issue. In the world, there are about 30 million disabled people, who partially or completely lost their working capacity owning to road accidents. Globally, the mortality rates of road accidents reach 32.5% (Hussain, et al., 2010, p.319).
First-aid training is necessary for professional drivers who can save human lives in the road accidents. According to the forecasts of the experts, the immediate provision of first aid can save around 60 % of lives of the victims of road accidents (Hussain, et al., 2010, p.320). Moreover, first-aid training of professional drivers will also allow to save the costs spent for the reanimation and emergency hospital treatment of the victims of road accidents.
To sum up, first-aid training is vital for the professional preparation of the drivers of all categories, including those driving heavy vehicles. The creation and development of first-aid courses for professional drivers in the European countries and the UAE allows to decrease the mortality rates statistics in the road accidents. The UAE takes measures aimed at propagandizing of first-aid help and the creation of the positive attitude to it. Thus, timely first aid saves human lives, relieves the state of health of the victim, and saves the costs.