Local Goa News

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The young & reckless: Who’s to blame?

PANAJI: School authorities and the traffic police have expressed their helplessness over the rising cases of minors driving vehicles—a trend that is endangering these young lives and those other road users. While fingers point towards parents, school administrators and the police force, no one is willing to take responsibility for the mischievous youngsters themselves.

The law has provisions for teenagers who want to experience the thrill of riding. The Motor Vehicles Act states that those between the age of 16 and 18 years are eligible to ride two-wheelers whose engine capacities don't exceed 50cc. Interestingly, there aren't many vehicles in India complying with those specifications. Also, parents, owing to busy lifestyles, admit to giving their children bikes and scooters to attend school and tuitions.
"We have over a thousand students and many of them come with motorcycles and scooters. The most we can do is ensure they wear helmets and don't ride three on a bike, but parents and the government have to share the responsibility. Parents should stop providing their kids such vehicles and if the traffic police can post some personnel near the educational complex to stop these kids, I'm sure the problem can be curbed," Rupa Sanjay Kope, principal of a higher secondary school in the Cujira complex, Bambolim, said.
Students, specially those studying in the Cujira educational complex, blamed the low frequency of public buses in the area for the rise in private vehicles.
"The school has allowed us to use gearless vehicles, to wear helmets and carry proper driving documents. The police often impounds vehicles, but we have to use our two-wheelers as we have to wait for at least 30 minutes for a public bus," a Class XI student said.
DySP, North Goa traffic cell, Dharmesh Angle, said that although police personnel are posted near the school complex in the mornings and afternoons, it is not possible to man each school 24x7.

"Also, the moment these kids see policemen, they panic and end up crashing the vehicles. Parents must understand that it is not safe to handover such 'machines' to youth who are not mature enough," Angle said.
Times View
Poor education and lack of awareness among nouveau-riche parents of the consequences of letting their children drive and the ride contribute to the rising trend of underage driving. One solution would be to hold parents/owners of the vehicle and the rider accountable and impose heavy fines along with a jail term. The vehicle, too, could be impounded. Many states have already implemented these rules while Goa continues to lag. But, the real solution lies in addressing the root causeignorance. Authorities can conduct regular awareness drives. Putting a good public transport system in place would also help. Finally, driving is not only about being able to operate a vehicle; it is also about maturity and judgment. Research indicates that underage drivers are four times more likely to underestimate hazards, cause accidents and break safety rules.

TOI Goa News

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