BENGALURU: Arun Kumar’s untimely death has brought to focus underage driving and the need for a better mechanism to check this menace. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, no person under the age of 18 years is allowed to drive a motor vehicle.
“It’s common to see school students riding two-wheelers on busy roads, especially during peak hours. Either students are unaware about rules or they are flouting rules because they are confident that they will not be caught. Traffic police also turn a blind eye as stopping such vehicles during peak hours would create traffic congestion,” said K Manjunath, a regular commuter on Brigade Road.
A few school authorities say they are unable to track students who come to school on vehicles. “Some parents encourage their children to take vehicles to school. But we have prohibited parking of such vehicles in the campus,” said a principal of a private school in the city. “But some students park their vehicles away from the school. So we are unable to take action against them. Traffic Police should confiscate their vehicles,” she added.
“We will increase the enforcement of cases. For repeat offenders, we will book the owners also for abetment,” said Additional Police Commissioner (Traffic) R Hithendra.
A few parents blame inefficient public transport system. “BMTC buses are crowded and unreliable. School buses take too long to reach the school or home as they have to drop students in different areas. I allow my son to go to school on a scooter as he promised he will not drive faster than 20km/h,” says a parent of a Class 10 student in Vasant Nagar.
Experts say underage drivers not only risk their lives but also pose threat to others. “Some parents are willing to spend a hefty amount to buy super bikes for their children. But parents should understand that their children are not mature enough to handle a vehicle” says traffic expert M N Srihari. “Parents should be held responsible for their children causing accidents,” he added.