In 2015, more than 20,000 people died in India in hit-and-run cases, according to a data published by government. There has been a great reluctance from the side of witnesses to help the victims because of the legal complications. There should clear laws to support “good samaritans”, as the State describes them.
Transport ministry data reveals, out of all the accidents reported in 2015, 11.4% were hit-and-run cases. The figure is an increase from 10.9% in 2014.
While 57 accidents were reported and 17 lives lost per hour in 2015, more than 54% killed were between 15 and 35 years old, in the prime of youth.
A New Rule For The Samaritans
Reports revealed that 74% of respondents expressed unwillingness to assist victims of road accidents.
To government issued standard operating procedures on January 21 to prevent unjust examination of eyewitnesses to road accidents. The procedure call for non-coercive, non-discriminatory and time-bound inquiry into an accident, and the examinee cannot be compelled to disclose personal information. The samaritan also doesn’t have to pay for the accident victim’s treatment, if he/she is related to the injured person.
Centre’s plan to convert state highways into national highways
The central government wishes to convert stretch of 52,000 km of state highways into national highways. But it has to first implement adequate safety measures. Because deaths reported from national highways in 2015, exceeded those on state highways in 2014, by 4.5 percentage points.
Out of all the hit-and-run cases, two-wheelers were involved in more fatal accidents (26%). Two–wheeler riders accounted for 25.2% of all the deaths on the road.
Surprisingly, 20% of the accidents were caused by drivers either without license or with learner’s licence.
60% of the commercial drivers did not have minimum vision requirements for driving.
Government measures for accident victims
A pilot project for cashless treatment of road accident victims is already operational on NH-8 (Gurgaon-Jaipur and Vadodara-Mumbai) and NH-33 (Ranchi-Mahulia) routes. The service includes free cashless treatment up to Rs 30,000 for road accident victims within 48 hours.
The government is also implementing the National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme (NHARSS) to provide cranes and ambulances for evacuation purposes. As many as 140 advanced life support ambulances have been handed over to 140 identified state government hospitals.