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Good Samaritan and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2014

SaveLife Foundation has worked with MP, Kirron Kher to draft and introduce to Parliament the Good Samaritan and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2014. A national survey conducted by TNS India for SaveLife Foundation reports 3 of 4 persons in India were unlikely to step forward to help injured victims on the road.

 More people die of road accidents than by most diseases. Indian highways are among top killers of the country

This is a crucial deterrent to saving more individuals involved in an accident. Bystanders’ general apathy towards road accident victims is attributed to legal complications that road users fear. The proposed bill looks to offer protection from civil and criminal liabilities for responders. Doctors emphasise that about 50 pct of fatalities can be averted if a victim is administered medical help or admitted to a hospital within the first one hour. There’s no denying that the golden hour is the crucial difference between life and death. An accident victim requires critical first aid to survive until reaching a hospital. With Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in India being unreliable or delayed due to traffic and road conditions, many a time, an ambulance and paramedics don’t reach promptly. As such, bystanders are a saving grace to to administer first aid and rush a victim to hospital.

On 12th December 2014, Good Samaritan and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2014 was introduced in Parliament as a Private Members Bill. The development aims to protect good samaritans from civil and criminal liability in a supportive legal environment. A safe environ that doesn’t subject helpful citizens to constant legal badgering will encourage them to come forward and help an injured person. Good Samaritan and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2014 looks to introduce changes so people who help an injured person do not face harassment and intimidation.

Important aspects include rights of a Good Samaritan who help a road crash victim, responsibility of hospitals in emergency care provision, and guidance that law enforcement authorities need to adhere to in regard to questioning. Good Samaritan and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2014 looks to safeguard interests of a person who agrees to help with investigation of the case to ensure that responsibility of evidence collection and investigation falls on law enforcement agencies, and not on a citizen. A Good Samaritan Fund is proposed. Hospitals are not demand payment of treatment fees from such a citizen, and importantly, immediate treatment isn’t delayed for payment of hospital fees. SaveLife Foundation supports the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020. Social media looks forward to saying ByeByeBystander with Kolkata Medical Emergency System which is working to offer a medical emergency system akin to 911 in the city of joy.

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