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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Underage drivers in Mumbai take traffic rules for a ride

Puja Changoiwala, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 13, 2013
First Published: 01:35 IST(13/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:37 IST(13/3/2013)

A 45-year-old woman lost her life after she was allegedly run over by a speeding motorist at Malad Link Road in the last week of December. The accused was a 17-year-old boy who was driving his father’s Skoda at a high speed when he hit Anita Chawan while she was crossing the road.

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A recent spate of accidents has shown how minors driving without licences have led to fatalities on city roads.

Experts say that parents of underage drivers should also be held accountable for the accident. At present, the police only levy a fine on the owner of the vehicle.

“In case of commercial vehicles, the owner is held responsible for an accident caused by his driver. I think that similar responsibility should be placed upon a parent if his child is found involved in an accident,” said Jitendra Gupta, member, Citizen Transport Committee.

After Chawan’s accident was reported, the Bangur Nagar police levied a fine of Rs1,500 on the father of the accused.

“According to the Motor Vehicles Act, it is an offence on part of a parent or guardian to let a minor, who is not eligible to avail a licence, drive a vehicle. And hence, the father of the accused [Chawan] had been booked under the Act and was fined Rs1,500,” said inspector Prabhakar Medhe, investigating officer of the case.

The traffic police fined 5,321 motorists last year for driving without a valid licence and 277 such offenders till February 28 this year.

“People, especially teenagers, have to act more responsibly and if they are found to be involved in accidents, the onus has to be placed on their parents as well. It is time people realised the risk involved with irresponsible driving,” said Allka Shah, member of road safety advisory board to Mumbai police.


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