Spike in instances of underage driving, bike stunts in Tiruchy raises concerns

Underage driving, particularly among those aged 12-18 years, has become increasingly common in both urban and rural areas of the districts.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only(Photo | Ashokkumar, EPS)

TIRUCHY: A significant rise in instances of underage driving and bike stunts in Tiruchy has raised concerns, prompting calls for stricter enforcement of traffic laws. Recently, 17-year-old boy, while driving his two-wheeler in the wrong direction in Ariyamangalam, collided with another two-wheeler, resulting in the death of his 14-year-old brother. The Traffic South Investigation police registered an FIR against Rathinakumar under section 199(a) of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Act, which holds the guardian or vehicle owner responsible for underage driving violations.

Similarly, another 17-year-old boy, lost his life in a road accident while returning home from a flower shop near Somarasampettai on his two-wheeler.

Underage driving, particularly among those aged 12-18 years, has become increasingly common in both urban and rural areas of the districts. These teenagers often ride without helmets and engage in dangerous stunts, frequently sharing videos of their exploits on social media. Many have even pasted their Instagram IDs on their bikes, further encouraging reckless behaviour. Motorists are now demanding police to crack the whip.

Speaking to TNIE, SR Kishorekumar, an advocate said, "Underage driving is still very common. Although providing bikes to children under 18 is an offence under the MV Act, violators are typically let off with a penalty. Careless driving by teenagers also paves the way for others to get involved in accidents. Parents are also negligent of such behaviours and are equally responsible for the mishaps."

P Ayyarappan, a road safety activist, emphasised the role of parents and schools in addressing this issue. "Many students come to school on two-wheelers. School administrations are often unaware of this. The traffic police should be vigilant and keep an eye on teenagers riding heavy two-wheelers."

He added, "Videos of teenagers in the city doing stunts on two-wheelers are going viral on social media, encouraging them to ride more. They do this on city roads, especially at night. Most of these riders do not use number plates while performing such stunts or hide them to avoid being traced. This should be monitored and strict action should be taken."

When TNIE contacted, a city police official said, "We are creating awareness through schools and speakers installed at city traffic signals that teenagers should not ride bikes. Also, if the traffic police catch them, they warn the teenagers and their parents."

"However, when we catch them, they say their parents are not well and they need medicines and we let them go. However, we are now actively looking into this matter." said a rural police officer.

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The New Indian Express