The Policy Advocacy arm of SaveLIFE Foundation focuses on bringing policy change in two broad areas: Accident Prevention and Post-Accident Response
|ACCIDENT PREVENTION||POST-ACCIDENT RESPONSE|
SaveLIFE Foundation is advocating for a comprehensive National Road Safety Law and a lead agency at both the centre and state levels for the required multi-sectoral coordination
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and the Motor Vehicles Act (Amendment) Bill, 2012 fails to address any of the issues causing Road Accidents. An Expert Group formed by the Government of India in September 2009, under the Chairmanship of Mr. S Sunder, Former Union Transport Secretary, recommended a complete overhaul of the Motor Vehicles Act, and presented a draft law to the Government of India in January 2011. Unfortunately the draft law, considered significantly stronger, has still not been introduced in the Parliament.
The delay in strengthening road safety laws has turned the problem into an epidemic with 15 road accident deaths recorded every hour on average. Furthermore, the ease with which traffic laws can be broken in India and the inability of our existing laws to adequately punish defaulters emboldens them further to violate even other laws and adds to the law and order problems in our country. The need of the hour, therefore, is a comprehensive National Road Safety Law that includes:
On June 5th, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport and Highways stated that the current Motor Vehicles Act was antiquated and the Government will bring a new law to replace it
SaveLIFE Foundation is advocating for a Good Samaritan Law for India to enable bystanders to assist injured persons without fear of danger, harassment or intimidation
15 people die every our and another 60 get injured due to road accidents in India. According to the Law Commission of India, 50% those who die on Indian roads can be saved if they receive timely medical attention including assistance from passers-by/bystanders. Since almost 1,40,000 people are killed every year in road accidents, this translates into an astounding 70,000 lives that can be saved.
Road accident deaths and disabilities can drastically reduced if proper care is provided to the victim at the critical “Golden Hour”. The care provided to the victim before reaching the hospital is called “Pre-Hospital Care” and is generally given by the bystanders/passers-by or Good Samaritans who are present at the scene of the collision.
Therefore, Bystanders/Passers-by and Good Samaritans are key elements in preventing morbidity and mortality. According to the 2005 World Health Organization Report on Pre-hospital Trauma Care Systems, “Even the most sophisticated and well equipped pre-hospital trauma care system can be of no use, if bystanders fail to recognize the seriousness of a situation, call for help and provide basic care until help arrives or take the victim to the nearest hospital.”
Emergency Medical Services (EMS), including ambulances and paramedics, are rare or non-existent in most parts of India. Even in major cities, traffic and road conditions delay the arrival of help. Under these conditions, bystanders and police can play a crucial role in saving lives. They can rush victims to the hospital, control crowds, or administer first aid. It is for this reason, that SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) is pioneering a unique strategy of supporting bystanders, who are often first at the scene of accidents, to come to the aid of victims in those critical moments after a collision.
In India, however, most bystanders/passers-by choose to play the role of mute spectators. According to a National study “Impediments to Bystander Care in India” carried out by TNS and SaveLIFE Foundation: 74% bystanders in India are unlikely to come forward in assisting a victim of road accidents; 88% of bystanders are unlikely to assist injured victims due to legal hassles, including repeated police questioning and multiple court appearances. A further 77% of respondents cite detention at hospitals and having to pay registration and other charges as a reason not to help. Close to 90% of bystanders in the aforementioned study suggested that a “Good Samaritan Law” in India be introduced to provide a supportive legal and ethical framework for passers-by to assist injured victims without fear of hassles, harassment and intimidation.
The Research arm of SaveLIFE focuses on generating, collecting and compiling authentic, verifiable data and information on Road Safety and Emergency Care in India and across the world. Based on original, expert reviewed research and data, SaveLIFE proposes practical innovative policies to improve Road Safety & Emergency care. We are working on bringing Good Samaritan Law in the country.
Ongoing Research Projects:
Some of the most glaring omissions in Road Safety policies in India stem from a lack of genuine data or gaps in information pertaining to ground realities and best case practices. Hence SLF is undertaking the following Research projects in order to buffer the existing information available on Road Safety
- Road Safety Resource Center: India’s first comprehensive resource center on Road Safety contains global and local reports, publications and studies on road safety and emergency care. It also outlines the latest statistics and data around Road Safety in India while highlighting the discrepancies across States in road accident data.
- Road Accidents & Poverty in India: According to the World Bank “Road accidents are an economic burden, and pose a major challenge to the health care system. The economic cost of road crashes and injuries is estimated to be 1-1.5 percent of gross national product (GNP) for low and middle income countries, about US$ 65 billion which is more than they receive in development assistance. Road traffic injuries also place a heavy burden on the household finances of the victims and their families. Many families are driven deeply into poverty by the loss of a breadwinner and the added burden of disabled members. While the premise that road crashes are pushing families into poverty is well documented, there are no official estimates or studies which outline the magnitude of the issue in recent times on a pan India level. Hence SaveLIFE Foundation is undertaking detailed research on the issue which will attempt to estimate the number of families pushed into poverty or with income reduced to the extent where it affects lifestyle or who lose a breadwinner which results in loss of livelihood due to road crash death & injury across India. This could be non-poor families who become poor due to a road crash as well as increased burden on families already classified as poor
- Road Safety Primers: It can be seen in India that vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and children have to fight for space on the roads, despite having an equal right of way. A complete lack of facilities and amenities for such road users leads to thousands of deaths and injuries every year. While these permanent interventions are being implemented, SLF has prepared primers which contain simple, immediate steps which can be followed by specific road users in order to ensure their safety. These easy to use road safety primers can be found here
- Legal Landscape for victims: The legal system in India is a complex and multi layered system leaving most users confused and unable to get justice. In particular, the laws and rules around road accidents, compensation, insurance and other important aspects of road safety are unknown to the common man. Hence SLF has prepared a simplified manual for victims and those affected by road accidents to seek effective legal solutions.
- Policy Briefs, Reports & Articles:
- Background & legislative history of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
- Laws & rules around drink-driving in India
- Vulnerable Road User Laws across the world
- An analysis of Good Samaritan Laws across the world
- An overview of Institutional and legislative aspects of Road Safety in India
- Road Safety & Public Health