CBSE schools in Nagpur are requesting parents to give an undertaking to allow their children to drive vehicles with engine capacity above 50CC, hold valid license and wear helmet. Despite the good intentions of ensuring student safety, this action contradicts Section 199(a) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
Section 199(A) states that persons below the age of 18 years are prohibited from driving a motor vehicle in public areas. However, motorcycles with engine capacity of more than 50CC can be driven by persons of 16 years of age and above. Currently, vehicles with engine capacity less than 50CC are not available in the market due to discontinuation.
A recent incident involved a minor girl who tragically lost her life while riding pillion, while a 16-year-old boy on a two-wheeler who did not have a valid driving license had a narrow escape.
Educational institutions have informed parents that a large number of children are coming to school in their vehicles. While proactive safety measures are being taken including inspection of vehicles, helmets and licences, schools are urging parents to ensure that their children do not ride two-wheelers without proper license and helmet.
Reports indicate that parents are signing an undertaking that allows their children to drive vehicles above 50CC. This document holds parents responsible for any problems that may arise from their children driving vehicles of more than 50cc capacity.
Harshal Dake, Assistant Regional Transport Officer, explained, This undertaking is unauthorized as schools are allowing children to drive vehicles above 50CC. The Act allows 16-year-olds to drive only non-geared bikes below 50CC Is.
Consequences for allowing a minor to drive a vehicle above 50CC include a fine of Rs 25,000 for the guardian or owner of the vehicle, as well as the possibility of imprisonment of up to three years. Additionally, the Act prevents minors caught driving illegally from applying for a driving license until the age of 25.
Vandana Benjamin, president of the women's wing of the Maharashtra English School Trustees Association (Mesta), acknowledged the schools' good intentions but stressed the importance of legality. He suggested that this undertaking merely confirms the parents' acceptance that their children will drive vehicles they are legally permitted to drive.
Transport Commissioner Vivek Bhimanwar recently directed Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) across the state to impose a fine of Rs 25,000 on parents if their minor children are caught driving. Deck revealed plans for a special campaign outside schools to keep an eye on underage driving.
Benjamin further added that the schools cannot inspect every vehicle due to logistical constraints, stressing the need for a written undertaking.
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