Onlookers often obstruct rescue operations just to catch a quick photo or video on their smartphone – the Johanniter Accident Aid now wants to use technical means to counter this widespread phenomenon. With QR codes on the rescue vehicles and on the equipment of the emergency services, spectators should receive a clear message on their smartphone: “Stop! Gawking kills!” The idea comes from an advertising agency and should first be tried out in a test project.
With drastic measures against dangerous behavior
The ubiquitous smartphones, with their extensive photo and video capabilities, as well as the diverse options for publication on platforms and in social media, have significantly exacerbated a problem that has long been known: Gazers block access to an accident site and hinder the work of the rescue workers. The problem is so serious that something has to change, says Jörg Lüssem, member of the Johanniter federal executive board – “because a few minutes often make the difference between life and death.” Often onlookers endanger not only other people, but also their own lives.
So far, in any case, neither appeals nor the recently introduced criminal liability have changed anything. Gawking is not a minor offense: Since the beginning of this year, taking photos or filming a traffic accident can be punished with a prison sentence of up to two years according to Paragraph 201a.
Camouflaged QR codes warn onlookers
Johanniter-Unfallhilfe, on the other hand, now wants to stick large QR codes on some of its vehicles, which are integrated into a graphic design and thus partially ‘camouflaged’. If onlookers pick up a code with their smartphone, it automatically redirects them to a website and displays a warning that is intended to make them aware of the dangers of what they are doing. As part of a test, the QR codes can initially be found on eight ambulances and one intensive care vehicle as well as on the equipment of the rescue workers. The screens that are used at the scene of the accident also contain the QR codes.
Johanniter-Unfallhilfe shows the use of the design in a video. The aid organization is hoping for greater attention and imitation by other rescue services. The test project should run for several months. The Johanniter then want to evaluate the experience and decide whether the procedure was successful and can be applied across the board.