With the menace of underage driving acquiring enormous proportions, it is time to fix parental liability. A 17-year-old student of Class 11 in DPS, Sushant Lok, slapped a 52-year-old guard when he was stopped from parking his car outside the school gates on Tuesday.
What is even more shocking is that he was joined by his father and relatives who assaulted the guard with baseball bats. While it is common sight in Gurgaon to spot a minor driving a bike or a car, the police and school authorities have failed to check the gross traffic violation.
Police authorities, meanwhile, blame parents for allowing their children to drive without a licence.
The Gurgaon police had booked nearly 1,500 minors for driving motor vehicles without licence last year.
Officials also said parents could be booked for recklessly allowing minors to drive. “The police are at liberty to take action against parents who allow their underage wards to drive vehicles illegally. Parents as well as schools must keep a check on minors driving to school,” said Maheshwar Dayal, deputy commissioner of police (crime).
Children below 18 years are often seen driving luxury cars and often parents, instead of stopping them, encourage them to be “independent”.
Rita Yadav, a parent, said, “It is economical and a child learns to be independent. During our age, we never had such facilities but nowadays, parents do not want to deprive their child from any comfort.”
Professor Sangeeta Singla, a parent, said, “It is the need of the times for parents to give a vehicle to their child. Children have to go for tuitions and other extracurricular activities after school. All parents cannot afford drivers and they are themselves not available all the time.”
Though many schools turn a blind eye to the menace, as students park their cars outside the premises, Ryan International School in Sector 40 has made it a point to check every morning if any child is driving. Peeya Sharma, principal of the school, said, “Each child is precious to us and we do not tolerate any student driving on their own. Me and staff members stand at the gate and our guards keep a check. If any student is found getting his or her vehicle, their parents are called and the keys are taken immediately.”