Rash & negligent: minor drivers on city's roads

Rash & negligent: minor drivers on city's roads
Underage motorists are increasingly hitting the city’s streets, especially highways, NICE roads and the outer ring road and often without parental consent.

Cases registered by the traffic police point at the rising trend of reckless driving/riding by teenagers who do not have a licence to drive. The traffic police have registered 2,140 cases of reckless and rash driving in the first eight months of this year. Of them, 1,340 cases were registered against minors. In such cases, police also booked parents of teenagers or owners of vehicles.

According to police, there has been a steady rise in the number of cases registered against underage motorists in the last three years. While 1,882 minors were booked in 2015, this number stood at 1,591 in 2016 and 1,340 in the first eight months of 2017. Police also prosecuted parents of minors and owners of vehicles. The number of cases registered against parents/vehicle owners was 10,359 in 2015, 9,022 in 2016 and 6,174 until August 2017.

The gravity of the problem is revealed by the gruesome accident on the Hosur Road elevated expressway on September 17 when a 17-year-old boy died after driving a car at over 150 km per hour.

The favourite spots of minor drivers are stretches of NICE Road, Ballari Road, Tumakuru Road and the Outer Ring Road where they indulge in wheelies, stoppies (stunts of the front wheel) and nose-wheelies.

In the downtown, Nandidurga Road has become the most preferred after police intensified vigilance on MG Road a few years ago. Underage drivers also prefer interior roads in Jayanagar and other localities.

Additional Commissioner of Police R Hithendra, however, says the number of cases registered against minors doesn’t show the full picture as many more incidents happen when police are not around.

“We are registering FIRs against the parents under the Indian Motor Vehicles Act,” he told DH.

Anil Kumar P Gramapurohit, Inspector, Traffic Planning, said: “In many cases, we learnt that underage riders bring their parents’ vehicles to the road without informing them. So, it is important for parents to keep a watch on their children’s activities.”

He added: “Teenagers get excited at the wheel and end up causing accidents. Most of them are in the 14-17 age group who are still in school and PUC.”

Police said they were conducting awareness drives in schools and colleges every month about traffic rules and regulations, besides social media to reach the youth. “We conduct citizen forum meetings every month and upload the photographs of lawbreakers on social media,” another police official said.

Traffic expert M N Srihari questioned the methodology used by police to find reckless driving. “Unless the police have strong evidence to prove reckless driving, the case will fall flat in court,” he said. “Reckless driving and giving vehicles to minors reflect commuter culture. Parents are responsible for their children’s driving skills. Awareness should start at home.”

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