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New motorists should take first aid courses, expert says

Drivers were often the first responders in traffic accidents

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

Prospective motorists should undergo mandatory first aid courses, according to the head of an emergency response organisation.

Red Cross Malta president Edward Gruppetta said those behind the wheel were often the first responders in traffic incidents. The first moments, he pointed out, could prove crucial in saving lives but not enough motorists were familiar with first aid.

“What we are saying is that the driving licence test should be tied to a first aid course,” he said.

“We can, thus, ensure that, at the very least, those driving will know the basics of what needs to be done in case of an accident.”

According to the latest statistics, there were nine road fatalities in the second quarter of this year, when 3,837 accidents were reported, down by six per cent over the same period in 2017.

The number of casualties decreased by almost 15 per cent to 470, including 269 drivers. A total of 232 motorists sustained slight/ insignificant injuries, 33 suffered grievous injuries and four died.

Twenty-eight passengers, 22 pedestrians/others and two cyclists were badly hurt in the accident and 102 passengers, 36 pedestrians/ others and six cyclists were slightly/insignificantly injured.

Three passengers, one pedestrian and a cyclist died.

Mr Gruppetta said Red Cross was insisting on more first aid training on the roads as it marked World First Aid Day today.

It is also pushing for motorists to carry a first aid kit and safety equipment, such as high-visibility jackets, in their vehicles.

First responder

According to the Red Cross, the first thing a first responder should do is observe one’s environment and to intervene only if not putting oneself or someone else in danger.

The next step is to alert the emergency services.

In case of an unconscious casualty outside a vehicle, lay them down on their back and open their airway – placing them in the recovery position.

If the casualty is unconscious but still in the car, do not get inside the vehicle but try and open the casualty’s mouth by bringing their head to a neutral position in line with the trunk.

If there is severe external bleeding, apply firm and direct pressure, if possible with a cloth or plastic bag.

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