The drivers of the Hyundai i20 and Mitsubishi Pajero that crashed into each other, killing one of them and another 20-year-old man on the Zirakpur flyover on Friday, were both aged below 18.
While the deceased, Mankirat Singh, who was driving the Pajero, was a Class-11 student of New Public School, the i20 driver is a student of Guru Nanak Public School. Though the latter suffered head injuries in the accident, he managed to flee the spot, later ending up at Max Hospital, SAS Nagar. Doctors said he was stable now.
Mankirat, who was tossed out of the car on the flyover and landed on the road below, resulting in his death, is said not to have worn his seatbelt that allowed him to be evicted from the car.
Zirakpur station house officer (SHO) Deepinder Singh said the police had yet to procure documents to verify age of the Hyundai i20 driver. But sources confirmed that the boy was 16. A case has already been registered against him.
The incident has once again brought underage driving in the spotlight. While the Motor Vehicles Act mandates that an individual below 18 cannot drive a motor vehicle with gears, Friday’s accident involved two teenagers zipping four-wheelers on high speed on a busy flyover in the middle of the day.
The accident claimed the life of not only one of the car drivers, but also of an innocent Bhupinder Thapa, 20, a final-year BTech student at the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, who came in the way of the out-of-control cars. Five others, also unsuspecting commuters, were left injured.
In a similar mishap on November 21, 2014, two of the three teenagers, who were triple riding on a scooter while returning home from their school, were killed after they were hit by a speeding car at the Sector 69-70 lightpoint in SAS Nagar.
Despite such accidents, teenagers continue to illegally drive automobiles with their parents often not stopping them. Friday’s accident has also exposed the inefficiency of the police, administration and school authorities in curtailing underage driving, raising the question yet again as to who is responsible for such accidents?
SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said investigation into the accident was on and suitable action would be taken. He added that they would meet road engineers to look into how to avoid such incidents, but gave no word on underage driving.
Meanwhile, police have handed over the bodies to the parents after autopsies at Dera Bassi civil hospital.