Under-age drivers give road users a harrowing time

The motorbike driven by a 16-year old, which rammed a car at TVS Junction, Kalamassery, leading to his death.  

Close on the heels of the death of a 16-year-old motorbike rider at TVS Junction, Kalamassery, recently after he reportedly jumped the signal and rammed a car coming from the opposite direction, the enforcement wing (Ernakulam) of the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) was in for a surprise soon, as they intercepted a 13-year-old boy, who was driving a motorbike, at Muvattupuzha.

On being questioned, it turned out that he had ventured out to purchase ice cream. In yet another incident, an MVD patrol team nabbed a 17-year-old from Kalamassery recently for under-age driving. He was riding his uncle’s scooter, and claimed he was on his way to purchase milk. The parents of the accident victim were under the impression that he was sleeping in the upper floor of their house, when they were contacted over the phone to inform them of his death.

The teenagers, who were intercepted by MVD personnel as part of Operation Juvenile recently, will, in all probability, have to wait till they attain 25 years to obtain driving licence.

“This is apart from a case that will filed before the magistrate court against their parents/vehicle owner, who will have to, in addition, remit a fine of ₹25,000 and up to ₹10,000 fine if they don’t produce documents for age proof. They could even invite imprisonment of up to three years, while the vehicle’s registration could be suspended for one year,” said Bejoy Peter, Motor Vehicle Inspector of the enforcement wing.

With under-age driving becoming common, people have begun providing tip-offs about teenagers in their area, who illegally venture into public spaces on two-wheelers and in cars. Some of them were drug addicts or involved in criminal cases. Still there were many constraints in bringing them to book, since they could end up in accidents if patrol vehicles chased them, and the public could turn against the MVD or police personnel. Even worse, the police often arraign the driver of bigger vehicles as accused, even if accidents were caused by under-age drivers, official sources said.

Under-age driving was more common in the suburbs of Ernakulam, said G. Ananthakrishnan, Enforcement RTO (Ernakulam). “Most of them involve children of NRIs and on whom parents have little control. MVD personnel face tremendous pressure, including from schools where under-age drivers study, when they are nabbed for the offence. Such instances are on the increase in locales like Perumbavoor and Muvattupuzha,” he said. The offence is punishable under Section 199A of the Motor Vehicles Act.

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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 5:08:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/under-age-drivers-give-road-users-a-harrowing-time/article36935749.ece

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