Around 96 per cent bystanders in the national capital are reluctant to help road accident victims with serious injuries as they fear that they would be subjected to legal hassles and mistreatment by police, said a study.
About 88 per cent bystanders across the nation had the same response towards road accident victims, stated the national survey conducted by TNS India Private Limited.
NGO SaveLife Foundation today released the study done in seven cities to find out why passers-by in India so often fail to come forward to help road accident victims.
"India has became number one globally in road accidents. It has registered highest number of road deaths in the world between the age group of 15-35. Prolonged police investigation, legal hassles and repeated visits to police stations and courts as witnesses, discourages bystanders to help the victims," SaveLife Foundation founder Piyush Tiwari said.
The study also found that 77 per cent of respondents were unlikely to assist injured victims as hospitals unnecessarily detain a samaritan and even refuse treatment if money was not paid.
About 88 per cent of the respondents said there was a need to create a supportive environment for a samaritan to help a victim.
According to a Law Commission report, 50 per cent of accident deaths can be prevented, which translates into 70,000 lives each year, if the victims receive timely medical attention.
The survey found there was a lack of awareness about availability of critical medical facilities as two of every five bystanders were unaware of where to take the victims for emergency trauma care.
A total of 36 per cent bystanders believe their responsibility ends with calling the emergency number or the ambulance, and many of them don't know where to take the victims, TNS India vice president Sandeep Ghosh said.
"We are still struggling for a single emergency number. Hyderabad has one such number but Delhi still doesn't. We are lacking an organised Trauma System," said Tamorish Kole, president, Society of Emergency Medicine in India.
However, 88 per cent of people expressed a need for a supportive legal environment so that they could come forward and help the injured on the roads, as per the survey.
"It is ironical that fear of law prevents bystanders from saving another human life. We are hoping that Supreme Court, in its next hearing on coming Wednesday, will come out with some necessary guidelines," said advocate Praveen Agarwal.