Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

Good Samaritan Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Good Samaritan Scheme

Mains level : Road safety issues in India

The Good Samaritan scheme, meant to encourage and felicitate those helping road accident victims, has received a poor response from the states more than a month since its launch.

Good Samaritan Scheme

  • The Road Transport and Highways Ministry announced this scheme so that taking a road crash victim to hospital is not just hassle-free but there is also the incentive of a reward and recognition.
  • Historically, Indians are reluctant in taking victims to hospital because of associated legal processes and investigations that follow.
  • To address that, the Centre inserted Section 134A in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, which deals with “Protection of Good Samaritans”.

Need for such scheme

  • India witnesses around 5 lakh road accidents and 1.5 lakh deaths from them every year.
  • As per several government assessments and independent studies, a large number of deaths occur because the victims did not get medical help within the golden hour.

Key features of the scheme

  • Non-liability: Under the scheme, a good samaritan will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of the victim of an accident involving a motor vehicle.
  • Reward: The scheme entitles any person, who helps save a life by taking a road crash victim to the hospital during golden hour, to a reward of Rs 5,000 per accident.
  • Anonymity clause: The new law is that the “Good Samaritan” is free to not disclose their name to the hospital or law enforcement authorities; they can also choose not to take part in any legal process.

Issues with the scheme

Ans. Poor response from the states

  • Despite the Centre willing to give an initial grant of Rs 5 lakh for it, states have not even opened bank accounts to get the money.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has sent several reminders to states to operationalize the scheme.

 

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