HYDERABAD: A morning joy ride almost turned fatal for four Class IX students on Sunday. The students of Narayana Concept School in Ameerpet had spent the night before at the residence of one of them at Kamalapuri Colony to study and hit the road in the morning. Around 7 a.m, the gang of four drove in a Honda City and crashed into a compound wall at Banjara Hills at high speed. Lucky that they only landed in a hospital with injuries.
This is but one of the many such incidents involving minors taking place in the twin cities. The Hyderabad Traffic Police, which has launched a drive against teenage drivers, slapped two cases, one against the minors under Section 279 (rash driving) and another against the owner of the vehicle G Venkata Ramana under Section 180 (allowing unauthorised persons to drive a vehicle) of the MV Act.
Commenting on the case, Ashok Kumar, DCP (Traffic) told City Express, “a special drive against teenagers is already in progress. We have already booked cases against teenagers for rash driving and other traffic violations.”
In fact, just like their successful drive against drunken driving, the police is going all-out to deter minors from speeding along on city roads.
A cursory glance at a few stats gives a measure of the problem and the effort going into this exercise. The police had booked 1,497 cases against teenagers between February 7, 8 and 9. Most of the youngsters were booked for signal jumping (180), over-speeding (13), rash/negligent driving (38), cell phone/earphone driving (158), triple riding (98), using multi-tone horns (11), wrong side driving (251), drunken driving (1), no driving licence (694) and riding without proper documents(53).
“Counselling sessions for 2,600 young violators and their parents were conducted and most parents appreciated these sessions. They were shown videos of live traffic accidents, films on traffic awareness and rules, and education material were given away,” Ashok Kumar said adding that the drive will continue for some more time and that they will make sure that more stringent measures to curb these mishaps are enforced. The counselling is conducted at the Traffic Training Institutes in Goshamahal and Traffic Police Station in Begumpet. Parents, who attend counselling sessions usually cooperate with the police as it is in the interest of their children.
However, apparently, more needs to be done. The Traffic Police, on their part, are leaving no stone unturned but insist that parents need to be more proactive. Ashok Kumar said, “It is very important that schoolchildren get to know the traffic rules well, right from a tender age. The parents should be very careful about not letting their children drive any vehicle till they get a licence. So, when such accidents occur we impose a fine even on the parents.” Referring to measures taken by them to create awareness about traffic safety among school children, Ashok Kumar explained, “We have been conducting the School Traffic Commandos programme in schools every year, where kids assist our officers in helping maintain traffic movement outside schools. We have covered about 200 schools till date and have distributed about 1 lakh copies of traffic rules booklets.”
People do agree with the police but want more action against children! Manikanta Gorti, an employee of Mu Sigma, suggests, “one of the solutions can be making more stringent rules for giving away licences. There should be proper checking everywhere and cops should be a little more serious in chasing these kids.”