If you are a minor, and you drive in Hyderabad, your parents will pay.
How many times have you noticed your fellow motorist, during your commute and wondered whether the person was legally allowed to drive?
Youngsters want real thrills nowadays. So what is life, without a little risk, think these reckless minors, who sneakily drive cars or ride bikes, several years before they’re supposed to, and consequently, the results are for all to see.
In February 2018, three teenagers lost their lives in accidents. A 12-year-old-boy was crushed under a lorry after he lost his balance and fell off the pillion seat of a bike. The bike’s rider, all of 14, was trying to overtake the lorry. Another incident involved three youngsters, who were triple riding, on a bike, and died after a TSRTC (Telangana State Road Transport Corporation) bus hit them near A Tank. In yet another incident, a 12-year-old boy died after a truck hit his vehicle.
There are scores of incidents like this, which prove that underage driving is on the rise and this is what prompted the Hyderabad Police to act. In 2016, around 2,755 minors were booked, and Rs 7,23,900 was collected in fines. In 2017, in just the first three months, the cops caught 1,026 minors.
What is surprising here is that the Hyderabad police introduced a unique solution to this problem—punishing the errant parents of these kids who drive or ride. In February 2018, the cops arrested four parents and imprisoned them for a day.
It must have come as a surprise for the parents, three of whom had to spend 24 hours behind bars, while one served a two-day sentence. AV Ranganath, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said that the punishment for the minors was meted out in the form of fines.
The minors in these four cases weren’t involved in any accidents—this step taken by the Hyderabad Police seems to be more of a preventive one. Additionally, according to a senior officer, in case of accidents involving minors, parents would be responsible, and their role would be examined during a court hearing.
According to Dr Rahul Agarwal, a senior physician and diabetologist, and the father of a teenage daughter, kids have unpredictable reflexes and are generally unprepared for the rules of traffic. They might cause injury to themselves or other commuters. The doctor blames peer pressure and theatrical influences for encouraging kids to speed beyond their control.
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Kids nowadays are getting smarter, thanks to the advent of technology, but that doesn’t mean they are mature. Watching a driving tutorial on YouTube does not equip you with the necessary skills to tackle traffic in India.
Maybe next time, the parents will think twice before giving their kids the keys to a vehicle!