Most Indians choose to ignore crash victims: Survey

Indian people gather at the site of a road accident on the Hardiwar-Mana national highway, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on June 17, 2013. Most Indians are unlikely to help victims of road accidents due to fears of legal hassles and po
Indian people gather at the site of a road accident on the Hardiwar-Mana national highway, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand on June 17, 2013. Most Indians are unlikely to help victims of road accidents due to fears of legal hassles and police questioning, a new survey of people in seven cities showed. --PHOTO: AP 

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Most Indians are unlikely to help victims of road accidents due to fears of legal hassles and police questioning, a survey of people in seven cities showed on Thursday.

Some 74 per cent of people surveyed across India were unwilling to assist victims, while the figure jumped to 96 per cent in New Delhi, according to the survey by the SaveLIFE Foundation, which encourages bystanders to offer assistance.

"The survey reveals that a whopping 74 per cent of bystanders are unlikely to help severely injured roadside victims," the privately-run group said.

The survey comes after a shocking video in April showed passers-by ignoring the pleas of a father after his wife and daughter were killed in a road accident in northern India.

Most people cited fear of the police as a major deterrent to helping victims, because anyone who stops is often dragged into the legal case, or are even implicated in the crime, the survey said.

"Eighty percent of bystanders who are unlikely to help a victim felt that having to go to police stations and courts for repeated questioning are major deterrents for bringing the victims to hospital," the survey said.

The survey of 1,027 people was carried out between January and March in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Indore, Kanpur and Chandigarh, foundation spokesman Sanjay Pandey said.

Emergency medical services are rare in most of India and the foundation said bystanders and police can "play a crucial role in saving lives".

The April CCTV footage showed the father cradling his injured son next to his overturned motorbike and calling for help from other motorists as his wife and eight-month-old daughter lay bloodied on the road.

Police said the father was ignored for 40 minutes in the city of Jaipur, as a stream of cars, buses and motorbikes drove past.

Public apathy in India was highlighted in December when a 23-year-old gang-rape victim was also ignored by bystanders after she had been stripped and dumped on a New Delhi street.

"This survey was carried out after the Delhi gang rape and I don't see any change in the mindset of people," Mr Pandey said.

India has one of the world's highest number of road deaths, with 131,834 people killed in 2011, government figures show.