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Kerala to protect 'good Samaritans' helping accident victims

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 6: The Kerala government is thinking to formulate a new law to protect people who lend a helping hand to road accident victims, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday.
Strict instructions have been given to police asking them to ensure that those helping the victims are not put into any difficulty, Vijayan told the state Assembly.
Instructions have also been given to investigators against enlisting them as witnesses to be examined, if they are not eye-witnesses to the accident, he said.
Fear of litigation and legal consequences often prevent people from helping accident victims, he said.
The chief minister was replying to a submission raised by Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala on the rising number of road accidents and the plight of 'good samaritans' who to help victims but later find themselves entangled in legal issues.
"As per the 2016 Supreme Court verdict in this regard, those who extend help to road accident victims will not have to face any legal liabilities," Vijayan said.
"In this backdrop, the government will consider framing necessary laws to protect those who engage in life saving activities and trauma care during the time of accidents and check any kind of difficulties caused to them from the side of authorities," Vijayan said.
The LDF government has already made arrangements to provide free treatment to accident victims during the first 48 hours in both public and private hospitals in the state, he said.
The government would also set up an e-network of ambulances to ensure immediate trauma care for road accident victims.
"The state police is setting up a group of voluntary activists under the title SOFT (Save Our Fellow Travellers) to provide immediate medical assistance for accident victims," the chief minister added.