Be a Good Samaritan and save a life
Don’t fear offering help to a road accident victim and be a ROAD HERO -the Good Samaritan Law is there to protect you.
Do you know that 17 people die on Indian roads every hour? Road accidents alone have claimed more than 2,00,000 lives in India, according to statistics of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, causing an economic loss of about 3 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
According to the Law Commission of India, more than half of these victims died of preventable injuries, which means that their lives could have been saved, had they received medical intervention on time. Several surveys have found that bystanders around the accident site are unlikely to help a victim, primarily due to the fear of being caught-up in legal proceedings.
There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. On March 16, 2012, the Supreme Court of India acted on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and passed the Good Samaritan Law that provides legal safeguard for Good Samaritans who come forth to help the injured on the roads.
The law is a big boon for a country like India. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), bystanders can play a game changing role in saving lives. They are the first point of contact for the injured and can help by calling for an ambulance, providing first aid or even rushing the injured to the nearest hospital if the ambulance doesn’t arrive in time.
Meet two such Good Samaritans who have saved hundreds of lives on the roads and set an example for the rest of us to follow.
Suraj Prakash Vaid – Man of the Golden Hour
Seventy-one-year-old Suraj Prakash Vaid was all of 24 when he witnessed an accident on the Capital’s busy Vikas Marg where a speeding car ran over two pedestrians who were lying in a pool of blood, writhing in pain and crying for help. A large crowd had gathered and yet no one was willing to take them to the hospital.
That was the first time he offered help – he took the victims to Lok Nayak Hospital in an auto-rickshaw and saved two lives. Since then, there has been no looking away. A taxi driver by profession, he has pledged to save the lives of road accident victims and has rushed hundreds of them to the hospital over the past three decades.
Along the way, Vaid has received many commendation certificates and rewards from the police. He was also the recipient for a national award on road safety given by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in 2002.
“Most people don’t come forward to help in accident cases, not because they are callous but because they fear getting tangled in legal proceedings. My experience with both the police and the hospitals has been very good. They have always appreciated my efforts,” he said.
With the Good Samaritan law coming into effect, he feels that the situation has only become better. “More people should come forward to help others because there is nothing to fear,” he added.
Raghvendra Kumar – Helmet Man of India
Computer engineer Raghavendra Kumar has distributed nearly 50,000 helmets for free to two-wheeler riders over the past decade. It all started in 2014, when Kumar lost a dear friend KK Thakur from his home district of Madhubani in Bihar in a road mishap in Noida. They were riding a bike without a helmet and suffered serious injuries.
Since then, he has been distributing free helmets in the memory of his friend so that at least some lives can be saved. He has already distributed them in 22 states so far, including Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh.
Last year, when he faced a cash crunch, he sold 3 bighas of ancestral land in Bihar and a house that he had bought in Greater Noida to fund the purchase of helmets. So far, he has already spent more than ₹2 crore on buying helmets. Hailed as the ‘Helmet Man of India’, Kumar has been felicitated with several accolades for this exceptional initiative.
The stories of Kumar and Vaid are truly inspiring examples for all of us to follow!
So, if you or your loved ones come across an accident victim on the road, be a Road Hero and extend all the help that you can!