CHENNAI: Two days after schools reopened, the traffic police on Wednesday booked 34 under-age minors for riding to school or roaming on streets on bikes without valid authorisation. On the same day, the traffic police personnel caught 295 people who were driving without licence and 195 for triple-riding across the city.
Police conducted the special drive as complaints of underage driving flooded control rooms in the last few days. Of the 34 under-age riders, 18 were caught in Royapuram, Vysarpadi and Pulianthope; nine from Adyar, Guindy and St Thomas Mount, while seven offenders were caught in the Mylapore, Ice House and Santhome areas.
The traffic police have found that in the last three years, south Chennai had 58 underage drivers being involved in road accidents, while in the east zone, 18 under-age drivers met with accidents. The number of under-age drivers who were involved in accidents in north Chennai was 35.
Those who were caught by police were asked to write an undertaking letter. The parents of the children were contacted and an awareness session about the dangers of juvenile driving was conducted for both the parents and the children by traffic cops.
“Initially, we have decided to create awareness for underage drivers to pass on the message that this is an offence,” said additional commissioner of police (traffic) Kapil Kumar C Saratkar.
Officials have been asked to visit schools to create awareness and to warn students about the perils of underage driving.
“It is time the transport department increases the fine for traffic offences involving minors as per the New Motor Vehicle Act, 2019, ” he said. At present, only a small amount is collected as fine and parents are let off with a warning. But the new Act suggests a fine of 25,000 or a three-year jail term to parents of minor offenders. Even the vehicle’s registration can be cancelled, he said.