In what may become one of the most progressive policies to promote road safety, the Delhi government will soon give a reward of Rs 2,000 to auto-rickshaw drivers who take road accident and trauma victims to hospital. The reason being that auto-rickshaws are likely to reach victims before an ambulance. In fact, after a Police Control Room van, the auto-rickshaw is the fastest to get to the victims, followed by friends or relatives, then come ambulances, said the Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain, reported The Hindu.
The decision comes weeks after the Supreme Court approved guidelines to protect Good Samaritans. The government also plans to give auto drivers life-support training and ask them to carry first aid kits. In India, 1.41 lakh deaths occurred in accidents during 2014. The maximum fatalities were reported on Delhi’s roads with 2,199 deaths during the year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
“The truth is that in Delhi, ambulances do not reach the victims in time. If we follow protocols and wait for ambulances, we will not be able to save lives. We are giving this economic incentive to Good Samaritans because they lose time from work. In most cases, their clothes are bloodied and we do not want them to suffer because of helping accident victims. We cannot put a price tag on a life saved. This is just a token, and it is optional — it will be up to the people to take this money,” the Health Minister added. The government will issue a notification soon.
Nearly half the number of deaths on Indian roads can be prevented if the victims are brought to hospitals within the ‘golden hour.’ The ‘golden hour’ refers to the first hour after an accident, during which, if given prompt medical attention, the accident victim has the highest likelihood of survival.
“While the modalities are still being worked out, we are certain we want to give the money immediately. We want to give the auto drivers options — if they want they will get vouchers for fuel or cash or mobile payments,” Health Secretary Tarun Seem said. Recent research has revealed that economic incentives have a positive influence on the reduction of road accidents and injuries.