ByÂ Amisha Bhardwaj:
Remember that guy in your school who came ‘vrooming‘ all the way on his motorbike and appeared to be the SRK of ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ to all the girls; making all the other guys jealous and perhaps have some of them pestering their parents next day for a motorbike just like his? Or that junior of yours at school you see every other day speeding on the roads, throwing all the traffic rules out of the window? This is the era of science, technology and rule breaking and has very well taught the youngsters some effective escapes, ‘’Tu janta nahi hai mera baap kaun hai!” or “Mere contacts bahaut upar tak hain, tu dekh liyo!” For rules are made to be broken and we don’t give a heck, the baap’s position always saves one’s neck.
A number of cases of underage driving have been registered and according to an officer from the traffic authority, many such offenders cheat the traffic cop’s eyes by hiding behind the helmets or the tinted car windows. Looking at the stats of last 2 years – this trend has been more of a menace not only for the driver but the pedestrians and the fellow commuters. This vrooming menace by the minors has increased sharply in cities,Â fueledÂ by families possessing more than one car or motorbike and parents indulging their children with ready cash and the car keys rather than discipline at home. Even in the villages, the scenario is more or less the same. Many get inspired by movies and advertisements, where a guy on a speeding motorbike tells his girlfriend that he thinks that “talking is such a waste of time” and speeds out of sight in no time. Perhaps, it’s because we have apes as our ancestors, to copy is in our genes, without thinking that it could be fatal or may leave us repenting over that one act forever.
This isn’t the problem for one state of our country but such minors speeding along the lanes can be found in all parts of the country. While reading the cases of underage driving, I came across many incidents where the drivers have barely escaped death and often found that the cops feel that the minors do not care about the rules and since the fine is minimal, there is no fear of getting caught again and again. Do we need to have some stringent law to value our own life and the lives of other? What makes us ignore that the racing games are not real and what we see in movies and advertisements is performed under the supervision of experts? Do we need a statutory warningÂ every timeÂ cautioning us that the imitation of the same can cause harm? The movies and advertisements already support such cautions, don’t they? But may be that gene ruins it all. Is it so?
Many people think that as soon as youngsters pass matriculation, their parents gift them a bike or a car according to their financial conditions so it is the fault of the parents who are fulfilling every demand of their children without thinking about its repercussions. Henceforth, the parents must get strict and refuse to surrender to the whims and fancies of their children and should teach them discipline. Moreover, in the words of a senior IPS officer from the traffic wing, “It’s a very serious issue as it leads to frequent accidents, especially with drunken driving by teens having become common“. Therefore, there are cities where the traffic police has taken the initiative to teach the students the traffic rules and road safety measures with the help of the schools. Well, although we all tend to forget whatever we study at school gradually, let us hope that these rules will be remembered and perhaps that is why we see Bollywood actresses telling the masses about the traffic rules and safe driving,Â after all,Â we all mimic them!
The traffic police slogan says “Speed Thrills, But Kills” but sadly, it holds no meaning to the youngsters. The practice of underage driving is very common and makes me wonder if it’ll ever stop as although we all understand the ill effects of such practices, talk over them, debate over them, write slogans, articles (this one too added to the list!) but at the end of the day, ignore them all. The need of the hour is that we must know what actually is “cool” and to abide by the laws and follow the rules is not bad.