Over 300 fatalities due to road accidents reported since 2011 have been due to public’s reluctance to intervene and assist victims, the Foundation for Civilian Bravery (FCB) has revealed.
Accordingly, a staggering 319 deaths were reported between 2011 and 2016, as members of the public had refrained from helping accident victims.
The FCB noted that the reluctance was due to those in a position to help not doing so for the fear that they would have to be embroiled in court, judicial proceedings, having to inconvenience themselves by making appearances at Police stations or giving evidence in Magistrate’s Courts as a result of helping. Founder and President, FCB, Kasun Philip Chandraratne filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court calling on the apex, superior Court to order the Police to halt the practice of detaining persons involved in accidents and eye witnesses to accidents, who come to the aid of victims of accidents, for questioning and taking down statements, after they have brought victims to hospital or Police station.
The Police should only take down the name and address of such persons and then release them, he explained, adding that saving a life was the primary priority over the secondary priority of finding or identifying wrongdoers. The Inspector General of Police, the Secretary to the Ministry of Health, the Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order, the Secretary to the Ministry of Highways and the Attorney General have been named as the respondents. “As per the statistics, in 2011, 52 have died along with 53 in 2012, 50 in 2013, 60 in 2014, 84 in 2015 and 20 thus far in 2016. This is due to neglecting to attend to victims fatally wounded in road accidents, denying them medical treatment and them not receiving medical attention on time,” he said.
Further, he suggested practices like paying for the costs including fuel costs incurred by those including three-wheeler drivers who bring the victims to a hospital too could be adopted in the long run.