Coming to the good Samaritan’s aid, the Centre has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the police and hospitals on how to ‘respectfully’ deal with people and bystanders who come to the aid of accident victims and rush them to hospitals or inform police.
The SOP was issued so that more people can come forward and help road crash victims to hospitals or inform police and not be afraid of getting harassed by police for their good deed.
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The SOP states that no person who brings a road crash victim to an hospital or informs the police about the accident, be asked to reveal his/her personal details, including full name, address and phone number unless he/ she volunteers to do so and is ready to become an eyewitness.
The SOP that was issued by the road transport ministry further reads:
“In case a good Samaritan chooses to be a witness, his examination by the investigating officer shall, as far as possible, be conducted at a time and place of his convenience such as his place of residence or business, and the investigation officer shall be dressed in plain clothes, unless the good Samaritan chooses to visit the police station.”
The transport ministry’s decision came early in January when the Supreme Court directed the Centre to submit the steps that have been taken to protect good Samaritans.
Following the court’s order, the Centre decided to notify the norms to all the places concerned within a fortnight and issued the SOP on January 22.
To make the process more smoother for the Good Samaritan, the SOP also specifies that in case he/she choses to visit the police station and wants to help in the case, he/she shall be examined within a single sitting and that to in a “reasonable and time-bound manner”.
Further, if the investigating officer (IO) doesn’t speak or understand the same language as that of Good Samaritan, it is his responsibility to arrange for an interpreter to interact with the person.
According to a government report, annually approximately 1.4 lakh people die in road crashes in India every year.
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The reports further says that at least 50 per cent of these fatalities can be averted if the victim reaches to a hospital within the first hour of the crash, which is called the ‘golden hour’.