BENGALURU: It was a shocking Saturday for Sampath Kumar when his minor son Kiran Kumar drove away their brand new car for a picnic with his friends and died in an accident on the busy Nandi Hills Road on the outskirts of Bengaluru city.
There are hundreds of parents in Karnataka who must be undergoing a never-ending agony for letting their minor kids to drive vehicles and meet with accidents.
For, Karnataka ranks third in the country that registered the highest number of accidents caused by underage drivers in the last three years, only after bigger states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
According to the written answer by Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, the state has registered 5,622 accidents caused by minors in the age group of 0-17 years between 2012 and 2014. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh top the list with 14,157 and 8,420 accidents respectively.
Karnataka is also not far behind in registering accidents caused by drivers without licence.
As many as 8,742 such accidents have been recorded in the state during 2012-2014, which is the fifth highest in the country after Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
However, the answer does not specify if the vehicles driven by minors and unlicensed drivers were two-wheelers or four-wheelers.
Police also accept that there is growing tendency among minors, particularly PU students, driving vehicles both in cities and rural areas. “We see PU students riding two-wheelers in Bengaluru city. Most of the time they do it without the knowledge of their parents,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M A Saleem.
Police also caution parents that their love for their kids should not blind them to the risk they are putting them through.
“Whatever may be the situation, they should not allow their minor kids to drive vehicles,” said a senior traffic sub-inspector.
“Suppose there is an accident, parents not only suffer on the account of their kids being injured or died, but they also have to face a case as allowing minors or unlicensed persons to drive a vehicle is a punishable offence,” he added.
In June this year, the high court had asked the home department to make sure that parents of the children below 16 who are seen driving two-wheelers and other vehicles in public places and roads, are booked for offences under different provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.
In Kiran’s case, he took away the car without my son Sampath Kumar’s knowledge. But whatever may be the case, I sincerely appeal to all parents not to let their minor kids drive vehicles under any circumstances. Teenagers will be full of energy and don’t bother about consequences. But parents should take care
Munikrishnappa, Grandfather of Kiran Kumar