Good Samaritan Law

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to a bill, India’s first, which will give legal protection to the good Samaritans in Karnataka who help accidents victims with emergency medical care within the ‘golden hour’.
  • With this, Karnataka has become the first state to give legal protection to good Samaritans through a legislation amidst the rising incidents of accidental deaths in India, which saw 1,50,785 people getting killed in road accidents in 2016.
  • The legislation aims to give protection to good Samaritans and ensure immediate medical assistance for road accident victims within the ‘golden hour’ and encourage people to offer first aid to victims without fear of harassment in the hands of police and investigations.
  • There were around 4,80,000 road accidents in the country in 2016 in which over 1,50,000 people were killed. In 2015, there were around 5lakh road accidents in the country in which over 1,46,000 people were killed.
  • There is no central law to protect the good Samaritan.
  • However, the Union Surface Transport Ministry had issued a set of guidelines in 2015 following a Supreme Court order to protect the good Samaritans.

Causes of Road Accidents

  • There are many reasons out of which improper maintaining of the road by the authorities is primary cause for such fatal deaths.
  • Lack of awareness about road safety from the citizens of the country.
  • Lack of surveillance from the traffic authorities.
  • Even though there are enough rules and regulation there is a lack of implementation.
  • There exists a phobia in our society that people who help accident victims will be harassed by the police officers.

Way Forward

  • Use of technology for surveillance could stop accidents and harsh driving like in the developed countries.
  • The Samaritan law should be enacted centrally so that citizens of the country are not harassed by the legal authorities.
  • Holistic planning for the roads taking into account the drainage pattern, the pavement would not only prevent accident but also make sure a perfect urban place is constructed.
  • Educating people about road safety measures.
  • Creating a nation-wide awareness campaign to educate them about what will happen if you overlook or intentionally violate any traffic rule.
  • Road accidents should be declared as National disaster.
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