Opinion

Parents Must Take Lead To Teach Children About Road Safety

A man is under investigation by the Police after his 13-year-old son allegedly drove the family car on Sunday and crashed into another vehicle. Although no one was hurt in
19 Apr 2016 10:00
Parents Must  Take Lead To  Teach Children About Road Safety
Road Safety

A man is under investigation by the Police after his 13-year-old son allegedly drove the family car on Sunday and crashed into another vehicle.

Although no one was hurt in the accident, it highlights the danger of having unlicensed teenage drivers illegally behind the wheel.

The alleged offender’s father is now going to face questions why he allowed his son to drive the car. He is likely to face charges according to the Police. On the first count he could face a charge of permitting other person to drive a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s licence. On the second count, the offence is failure to comply with provisions of a learner’s permit.

The minimum age to obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s licence is 17.

The teenager is clearly in  breach of traffic laws. But Police say he cannot be charged because he is a juvenile. Instead, investigations have now shifted to his father who collapsed at home when he heard news of the accident and had to be rushed to hospital.

Police are waiting for him to return home before they can interrogate him.

Although no one was injured it does not diminish the seriousness of this case. It could have turned into a more serious accident and put lives at risk.

It is not only illegal to have a 13-year-old boy driving but also morally wrong.

Not long ago three boys of similar age were caught joyriding in Suva. There was no accident then but on Sunday the 13-year-old was not so lucky. Now he has put his father in trouble with the law.

Both Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho and Director of Traffic Senior Superintendent Mahesh Mishra have taken a strong view about parental responsibility and accountability.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said it was negligence to allowing under-age children to drive. SSP Mishra shares the same view.

Police have stepped up their vigilance on the road as they crack down on those who ignore traffic laws. They have worked in conjunction with the Land Transport Authority to keep our roads safe.

LTA’s chief Naisa Tuinaceva has led the charge against repeat offenders. He now adjudicates in cases where offenders are required to show cause why their licence should not be suspended. So the onus is on the drivers to convince Mr Tuinaceva why they should not lose their licence. Already licences have been withdrawn under this initiative.

That should send out a clear message that there is zero tolerance by law enforcement officers on those who deliberately violate road rules.

Any move that acts as a deterrent against traffic violations is welcome.

Like many things in life, they all start at home. Parents must be responsible in teaching their children road safety. That includes teaching children that they cannot obtain a licence or allowed to drive until they turn 17. It’s negligence if parents fail to do it. And they should be held accountable for it.

 

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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