Survey says most people unaware of Good Samaritan Law

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (IANS) A majority of the population is still unaware of the Good Samaritan Law which provides legal protection to bystanders who come to the aid of road accident victims, a national survey revealed on Monday.

SaveLIFE, a non-profit organisation, said 84 per cent are still unaware about their new rights even after two years of the Supreme Court judgement bringing into force the Good Samaritan Law.

The survey also revealed that though there has been an increase in the general willingness to help the victims, from 26 per cent in 2013 to 88 per cent in 2018, “in terms of concrete actions, the willingness to help the victims is still low”.

“Out of the respondents willing to help, only 29 per cent were willing to escort the victim to a hospital, 28 per cent were willing to call an ambulance and only 12 per cent said they would call the police,” the report by SaveLIFE said.

The study was conducted by MDRA across 11 cities — Delhi, Jaipur, Kanpur, Varanasi, Ludhiana, Bengaluru Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Indore and Kolkata. The sample size included 3,667 respondents including from the police, hospital administration, medical practitioners and trial court lawyers.

The survey also found that in total violation of the Supreme Court judgement, none of the hospitals surveyed had displayed a good Samaritan charter at their entrance, enumerating the rights of the people who bring or accompany the injured to the hospital.

“State and Central governments, Transport Ministry and hospitals need to create awareness about the law. Hospitals should put stickers on their entrance and schools should teach children about the law,” said Ajai Chowdhry, a recipient of Padma Bhushan and the HCL founder.

The report revealed that 96 per cent of the surveyed medical professionals admitted to not having a Good Samaritan law committee in their hospitals and 64 per cent of the surveyed police personnel admitted that they still take personal details of the Good Samaritan.

Commenting on the research report, Piyush Tewari, Foundation of the Good Samaritan Law citizens and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation said, “It is quite evident from the study that even two years after the institution of the Good Samaritan Law, citizens are unaware of their new rights. So, people are still hesitant to help. Moreover, implementation of the SC judgement, even at the official level, has been remarkably low.”

Tewari suggested that the need of the hour is for states to translate the SC judgment into a State Good Samaritan Law.



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