India has the highest number of road fatalities in the world, but thanks to Piyush Tewari, accident victims now have a much greater chance of receiving care at the scene – and surviving.
Piyush Tewari had a promising career as a private equity manager when his cousin was injured in a road traffic accident and lay unattended for 40 minutes while bystanders watched him die. Tewari was devastated by his cousin’s pointless death. He began spending his spare time training volunteers – including policemen, shopkeepers and ordinary citizens – to help accident victims.
India suffers 150,000 road crash deaths a year, and, in the absence of emergency medical services, many lives that could be saved are lost – as many as 50 per cent, according to our research.
He set up the SaveLIFE Foundation in 2008 and left his job in 2011 to run it full-time. The organization successfully campaigned India’s government to introduce strong road-safety legislation that will create the missing safety standards for road users, roads and vehicles, and impose stern penalties.
One reason for India’s high road toll has been the fear of bystanders to provide help. Previously they were discouraged from playing the role of Good Samaritans due to fears of police harassment, becoming liable for victims’ medical bills and being drawn into prolonged court cases. But that will now change. Following public interest litigation filed by the SaveLIFE Foundation, India’s Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that bystanders can now offer care and assistance to road accident victims knowing they will not be penalized or harassed for doing so.
Among the many accolades he has received, Tewari was named a Next Generation Leader by Time magazine in 2015.
Police officers have been trained by SaveLIFE
Annual road deaths in India
Lives that can be saved through rapid emergency care