Under-age riders give road users the jitters

Under-age drivers and numerous other youths are pooling in money to purchase power-packed two-wheelers, often without the knowledge of their parents, and use them for racing on city roads, Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) officials have said.

Enforcement personnel have come across the practice during routine vehicle inspection. “It was found that a group of higher secondary school students had pooled in their pocket money to purchase a used motorbike which was put up for sale in OLX. They used to park it beside the road, so that parents would not come to know of they moving around on a two-wheeler. They also made four keys so that they could take turns in using the bike,” said Shaji Madhavan, Enforcement RTO (Ernakulam).

“We were in for another surprise on learning that the sale was not entered in the vehicle’s registration certificate. The original owner and the used vehicle dealer will be questioned. Parents must understand that under-age driving attracts a fine of ₹25,000 that has to be remitted in court. In addition, minors who were caught driving vehicles could be produced before the juvenile court,” he added.

Awareness about the practice has made people give tip-offs to enforcement personnel. It helped officials apprehend around 40 motorists recently near Cusat. They included teenaged youths, including girls, who were charged for offences such as riding triple on two-wheelers. The MVD has also roped in drivers of school buses to be on alert for students wearing school uniform found driving bikes and cars, it is learnt.

Road users have to be wary of under-age drivers as well as others who lack driving skills and maturity, said Ernakulam RTO P.M. Shabeer. “Instances of youth driving ‘superbikes’ in a reckless manner are increasing. Accidents can happen when they borrow such bikes and drive around, since it takes many days to get accustomed to their power and brakes,” he added.

The MVD is devising an action plan to keep tabs on such drivers, for which two Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspectors have been deputed. They will observe roads that such people use for racing. Ultimately, such rider groups must bring in some self-regulation, since they are endangering the life of other road users too, he said.

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