12 Jul 2013 11:19

NEW DELHI, July 11 (Bernama) -- As many as 96 percent of bystanders in national capital Delhi are reluctant to help road accident victims with serious injuries over fears they could be subjected to legal hassles and mistreatment by police, a study has found.

Press Trust of India (PTI) reports about 88 percent of bystanders across the nation had the same response towards road accident victims, a national survey conducted by TNS India Private Limited reveals.

The study, released by NGO SaveLife Foundation on Wednesday, surveyed passers-by in seven cities to ascertain why they so often failed to come forward to assist road accident victims.

"India has become number one globally in road accidents. It has the highest number of road deaths in the world for people in the 15-35 age group," SaveLife Foundation founder Piyush Tiwari said.

"Prolonged police investigation, legal hassles and repeated visits to police stations and courts as witnesses are discouraging bystanders to help victims."

The study also found 77 percent of respondents were unlikely to assist injured victims as hospitals unnecessarily detain a samaritan and even refuse treatment if money was not paid.

According to a Law Commission report, 50 percent of accident deaths can be prevented which translates into 70,000 lives every year if victims receive timely medical attention.

Around 36 percent of bystanders believe their responsibility ends with calling an emergency number or ambulance as many have no idea where to take the victims for trauma care, TNS India vice president Sandeep Ghosh said.

"We are still struggling for a single emergency number. Hyderabad has one such number but Delhi doesn't; we are lacking an organised trauma system," said Tamorish Kole, president of Society of Emergency Medicine in India.

However, 88 percent of those surveyed expressed the need for a supportive legal environment so they can come forward and assist injured victims on the roads.

"It is ironical that fear of law prevents bystanders from saving another human life. We are hoping that the Supreme Court will come out with some necessary guidelines in its next hearing on Wednesday," said advocate Praveen Agarwal.