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Bystanders should stop taking photos and videos of accidents and victims

I refer to the news reports of the fatal traffic accident on Sunday (Dec 29) at Lucky Plaza. I applaud the Good Samaritans who unselfishly helped to lift up the car, pulled the victims out and attended to them.

A crowd watching the car involved in Sunday's fatal accident at Lucky Plaza being towed away. Two female pedestrians were killed and four others were injured.

A crowd watching the car involved in Sunday's fatal accident at Lucky Plaza being towed away. Two female pedestrians were killed and four others were injured.

I refer to the news reports of the fatal traffic accident on Sunday (Dec 29) at Lucky Plaza. 

I applaud the Good Samaritans who unselfishly helped to lift up the car, pulled the victims out and attended to them.  

These are acts of true heroism. They encourage us to lend help to accident victims when needed and show that there are still compassionate people who don’t respond to accidents by whipping out their phones first to take videos and photos to circulate to their friends.  

In Sunday’s incident, one of the first things a bystander could do was to rush to the nearby Mount Elizabeth Hospital Accident and Emergency Department to seek help, as it would have the necessary medical equipment and trauma specialists on duty.

This was crucial as the Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulances would take some time to arrive and the accident victims needed immediate medical attention and first aid.

The sad truth is that it remains common for people to stop at the site of an accident just to take videos and photos. The act of recording a tragic accident but doing nothing to help is a manifestation of the bystander effect.

The German government has enacted a law that makes it a crime for anyone who takes videos or photos of a crime or accident instead of helping. Singapore should consider enacting a similar law to deal with apathetic bystanders, who appear to be getting more common.

It is human nature to be curious about accidents, and it is understandable if bystanders want to see what has happened.

But this cannot be at the expense of not rendering help to victims. 

And in cases where it is clear the victims are receiving adequate help and attention, then the least bystanders could do is to refrain from taking photos and videos. 

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

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