Good Samaritans… law is now on your side

State to bring about regulation to make it easy for people to help accident victims.

March 24, 2016 08:16 am | Updated September 18, 2016 10:40 am IST - BENGALURU:

The next time you pass a road accident victim, stop. Most people hesitate to step in to help victims for fear of getting entangled in police questioning and hospital admission processes. But this may soon be a thing of the past with Karnataka all set to bring about a ‘Good Samaritan Act’.

Aimed at insulating citizens who help accident victims, the Act is expected to make the police as well as hospital authorities follow the ‘Good Samaritan’ guidelines by binding them to a law.

The draft of the Act, readied by the Health Ministry, reportedly includes a punishment clause for officials violating the guidelines.

Bengaluru has witnessed many incidents of accident victims being denied treatment at hospitals or delays in taking victims to hospitals in time. The death of Harish N., after a truck ran over him on the State Highway in Nelamangala, prompted the government to come up with the Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Scheme.

The scheme promises cashless treatment for accident victims during the first 48 hours, considered the golden hour, with a maximum entitlement of Rs. 25,000 per victim per episode.

Welcoming the move, Piyush Tewari, founder of SaveLIFE Foundation which was instrumental in getting the government to frame the ‘Good Samaritan’ guidelines, said the challenge now was the lack of accountability.

Deaths by accidents have declined: traffic police Bengaluru: If the traffic police are to be believed, Bengaluru is one of the most “ambulance-friendly” cities in the country.

M.A. Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), said that the number of deaths of accident victims had reduced from 981 in 2007 to 740 in 2015, despite the number of vehicles increasing rapidly over the period.

“There are approximately 10 accident cases each day in Bengaluru. But the ambulance network has gone up and there are good trauma centres also available,” he said.

S.S. Pervez, senior manager of GVK EMRI which runs the 108 ambulances (introduced in November 2008), said that there are 69 four-wheeler and 80 two-wheeler ambulances in Bengaluru,

Across the State there are 711 four-wheeler and 32 two-wheeler ambulances. “The two-wheelers are ideal to administer first-aid in the city, where traffic is a problem, until the four-wheeler ambulance arrives to transport the patient. However, vehicle users and the traffic police cooperate when they hear the ambulance siren,” he said.

With a possible ‘Good Samaritans Act’ and the Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish Scheme, the city traffic police too are going to undertake campaigns from April, around the theme ‘Help accident victims, no questions asked.’

“Rewarding those who help victims is also in the pipeline,” Mr. Saleem added.

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