THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On Wednesday morning, a fatal accident which took place at Pothencode shocked everyone. A Plus Two student lost his life and two others got seriously injured after a scooter they were travelling on to school collided with a van. The youngsters who were driving recklessly lost control and collided head-on with the van, Pothencode police said. “The scooter, which the boys were riding, was registered in the name of the mother of deceased,” said police officers.
Recently, there has been a spate of accidents involving teenagers. The investigation into many of these accidents has revealed reckless driving as the major reason. According to police, in many cases, the teenager behind the wheels lost control of the vehicle. What compounds the matter is that all these youngsters were minors and didn’t have driving licences. Many of these kids try to show off and engage in daredevilry including road racing and wheelies.
Who are to be blamed? Parents or teens? Are parents sending children to their deaths by allowing them to drive their vehicles?
According to senior traffic police officers, parents take steps to curb rash driving by youngsters. They said strict action will be taken against the owners of the vehicles involved in such accidents.
The police said, more and more teenagers are driving their parent’s vehicles. “It is the parents’ responsibility to rein in their children and curb their tendency to engage in dangerous activities, especially during adolescence,” said police officers.
S K Gopinath, a city resident who has a 16-year-old son, said, “Self-discipline is must when it comes to driving. It a much-needed quality that the youngsters need to develop before sitting in the driver’s seat. Though kids between 16 and 18 years are allowed to drive gearless vehicles, they aren’t mature enough to take it on road. They have a tendency to speed and hence end up in accidents.” Gopinath said, parents are equally responsible. “They shouldn’t encourage their children to drive until they get a licence.”
Sangeetha Menon, a housewife said, “Teenagers want to experience the thrill of riding their bikes. Some TV programmes and movies show stunts involving vehicles but they are performed by professionals. However, teenagers try to imitate them without realising the danger.” She blames the need to look cool for this tendency.
“These days driving vehicles has become a status symbol. Sports bikes attract teenagers. Hence, it is the duty of the parents to keep an eye on their children,” she added.
What the law says
According to Provision 1 in Section 4 of the Motor Vehicles Act, no one under the age of 18 can drive a motor vehicle unless the engine capacity is not exceeding 50 cc and the driver is 16 years of age. For motorcycle without gears not exceeding 50 cc - completion of 16 years. For the motorcycle with gears and light motor vehicles - completion of 18 years and for transport vehicles - completion of 20 years. However, now there are hardly any bikes that come under 50cc and everyone wants power in his vehicle to gain speed.
Dangerous bike stunts
Teenagers do stunts to impress others on the road. But they are unaware of the negative results. Some the stunts which are often performed by teens on the public road are:
Wheelies: A stunt in which a front of a motorcycle comes off the ground
A stunt in which the rear wheel of the motorcycle comes off the ground
A move in which a bike is at full throttle while its brakes are engaged, creating a lot of smoke.
Strict action against violators
Meanwhile, Rural SP, P Asok Kumar said stern action will be taken against violators and a special drive will be launched to keep a check on offenders especially teenagers.
“Inspections are being conducted on a daily basis. In the case of Pothencode incident, the students had violated nearly all the laws. They were riding triples and also didn’t have a licence. In order to curb such incidents, we will intensify checking in the rural parts of the district too,” said Asok Kumar said.
One killed two injured in accident
A Plus Two student was killed after the two-wheeler he was riding along with his two friends collided with a van at Pothencode on Wednesday morning. The deceased has been identified as Jithin Lal, 17, son of Jayalal and Latha of Kalluvila, Kudavoor. The scooter the youngsters were riding belonged to his mother.
According to Pothencode police, the accident took place at around 8.30 am, when the teenagers going to their school. They are students of Neduveli HSS. While travelling along Pothencode-Kanyakulangara road, the speeding scooter lost control and swerved into a van coming in the opposite direction. Though all the students were taken to Medical College Hospital, Jithin Lal was declared dead on arrival. According to hospital sources, the condition of Vipin, 17 is critical while Mohammed Ajmal is stable. Jithin’s body has been handed over to relatives after a post-mortem. examination.