In Need of More Humans on Road: The Good Samaritan Law
What happens when you see someone injured on the road? See an accident that has happened with someone who you don’t know?
Our flight response is simple- “Why should I get involved?”, “I’ll get late”, “I don’t want to be bothered by the police.” The depersonalization of the matters, even when they involve life and death are real. This usually happens because the person who needs help is not our family member or friend. There are many misconceptions surrounding samaritans in our society.
In India, every year, more than 1,50,000 people die in a road accident, with nearly 400 deaths in a single day. Most of the deaths and major mishaps can be averted by emergency response by the surrounding people. Instead, we watch, pass by and ignore the victims on the road. It is understandable that one may fear being harassed by the authorities and hospital for bringing in the victim, repeated phone calls, visits, and legalities.
In 2016, India government rolled out the Good Samaritan Law to encourage people and secure them to help victims get timely help. However, practically no one is aware of the law and thus we all still remain ignorant and scared of the being a good Samaritan.
Recently, while driving through a hustling road in the New Delhi, India, we came across a man on the side of the road, lying face down. The man, although I didn’t see his face, was wearing his sneakers, shorts. It looked like as if he was going for a run and must have had a fall, or heart attack. More than looking at the man, I saw the people who ruthlessly drove by. The left lane taken up by two-wheelers, were the first ones to ignore. Ofcourse, one might think, “I can’t help!.” I was a part of that group too. I slowed down but with a million questions in my head, drove by. A minute late, I called the control room at 100 and told them about the incident. They asked me questions and a number of calls followed me from police station, control room, ambulance, patrol car etc. A little over an hour later, I told the police that I was OK in answering where I saw and what but I wanted to know if the man got help, to which the police man replied “Ma’am, we are surprised you called to help him. No one does that. We were able to help him.”
A good Samaritan doesn’t walk around with a badge or a uniform, rather it is the feeling of being a human, recognizing the time of help and stepping up to it. We are protected under the law where if you feel harassed you may tell the Police officer or other law enforcement professional that you are protected.
We are sure if we ever needed help on the road, we would expect someone to be willing to. It goes the same way around.
What can you do?
You are protected under the Good Samaritan law.
Help, whenever you see someone who needs it.
Call the police or ambulance as soon as you can.
Follow road safety rules, drive and empathize with fellow travelers.
Be collectively responsible for the life of each other.
In a country where rules of the road are tossed for saving a few seconds, we need more good Samaritans and more awareness of our rights to help.