Underage driving in India is illegal but it is a rampant trend in many major cities of the country. In Hyderabad, Telangana, the traffic police is conducting a special drive to catch such minors. A few days back, the traffic police department of the city booked as many as 172 minor boys for violating the Motor Vehicle Act rules and riding without a valid license.
The city police of Hyderabad conducted the drive on 22nd and 23rd April but latest updates from the Cyberabad Police page indicates that they are continuing the drive. According to the traffic police department, the drive will continue randomly for the next two months. The drive against the minors saw the cops booking as many as 172 illegal motorists. As per a report on Hans India, 69 minors were caught in the West/Central Zone of the city while 60 minors were caught in the East Zone. The South Zone saw 43 minors booked.
All the boys who were booked during the special drive were given detailed explanations on why it is dangerous to drive or ride without a valid license and the repercussions of accidents if any. All the booked minors were asked to take an oath and promise that they will not repeat the offence. The police have also requested the parents to keep a check on the minors and make sure that they stop them from driving illegally.
It is not known if the parents of the minors were contacted by the police force. In March 2018, a similar special drive against the minor motorists was launched by the Hyderabad Police and as many as 45 parents of minors were sent behind the bars for allowing their children to operate an automobile. No such steps have been taken this time though. Out of 172 minors, 160 were given special counselling session. The minors were called at the Red Rose function hall in Nampally were counselled.
It should be noted that under Motor Vehicles Act, an underage person driving or riding a vehicle can be jailed for 3 months or can be fined Rs 500. In extreme cases, both the punishments can be given to the minors. Parents, who are the vehicle owners and allow their children to drive the vehicle without a valid license will get a punishment of Rs 1,000 or jail of 3 months or both.
Many accidents involving the minors have turned out to be fatal in the recent past. Minors who drive without a valid license do not get any insurance cover too, which makes it extremely dangerous when they get involved in accidents. It is not only Hyderabad but many major cities in India have this very same problem of underage driving.
In India, the MV Act does not permit any person below the age of 18 to get a driving license. However, a driving license can be granted to the person above the age of 16 years to operate any vehicle with an engine capacity not exceeding 50cc. Minors can operate vehicles in closed circuits like racing tracks after obtaining a relevant license in India, however, driving on the public roads remains strictly illegal.