Every day, more than 400 people die in road accidents across India on average
Every day, more than 400 people die in road accidents across India on average. Many of these deaths can be prevented if the victim gets immediate first-aid. On World Trauma Day today, 17 October, we bring to you the stats, facts, and things you can do to help if you happen to witness a road accident.
What is trauma?
Trauma refers to any kind of injury to the body. The cause of the injury could vary from road accidents to fires, violence and hate crimes.World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that road accidents are the No. 1 cause of death among children and young adults aged 5 – 29, globally.According to WHO, trauma is a major cause of death and disability across the world.
Nearly 1.5 lakh people died in road accidents in India in 2015, according to the most recent Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India Report, by the National Crime Bureau Record (NCRB).The NCRB report showed that while the total number of accidents grew by over 3% to 4,64,674 in 2015, road accident deaths rose 5.1% from 1,41,526 in 2014 to 1,48,707 in 2015.
In fact, accidents are a leading cause of physical, mental and financial suffering in India today.
Where you come in
The Good Samaritan Law came into effect in India in 2016, so bystanders can help a road accident victim without fear of legal hassle or being asked to pay for hospital treatment.
Here’s what you can do to help if you spot a road accident:
- If you’re driving when you spot the accident, calmly park on the side of the road. If need be, use your car to shield the victim from oncoming traffic. Remember to turn your emergency lights on.
- Assess the situation (be mindful of your own safety first). Check for the number of victims, the nature of their injuries and call the police and ambulance services as soon as possible.
- If the victim is unconscious but is otherwise okay, the UK’s National Health Service recommends putting them in the recovery position (lying on one side, with mouth slightly open) like so:
a) If the victim is lying on their back, kneel on the floor next to them.
b) Gently place the victim’s arm (the one closest to you) at a right angle to their body.
c) For the other arm, hold the hand and gently place it – palm down – next to the opposite cheek (the cheek closest to you).
d) Bend the knee that is farther away from you at a right angle. Now gently roll the person – you can also use their bent knee to gently pull them – on to their side so that they face you.
e) Tilt their head back slightly and lift their chin, to make sure the airway is open.
f) Stay with them till the police or the ambulance arrives.
- If you have any reason to suspect that the victim might have a spinal injury, do not attempt to move them. As gently as possible, check that they are breathing. If not, open their mouth slightly and gently to see if there is any obvious obstruction you can easily remove to help them breathe.
- If the victim is bleeding, make sure there’s nothing embedded in their wound before using a clean cloth to apply pressure on it. If there is something embedded in the wound, avoid the entry site, and apply pressure around it to reduce the bleeding.
- Do not give water to an unconscious or semi-conscious victim of road accidents.
These are the emergency helpline numbers you can call: 112 for pan India emergency assistance, 100 for the police, 108 for an ambulance.
Earlier this month, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal launched “Farishtey Dilli Ke”, an initiative to reward people who assist accident victims by taking them to hospital with the golden hour – that is, within 1 hour after the accident. Speaking at the launch, Kejriwal explained that in 70-80% cases, taking the victims to the hospital within the golden hour can save lives.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read our article on Trauma.