A particularly alarming trend in Mokokchung is the rise in underage driving. Many young individuals, lacking proper training and experience, are taking to the roads. Underage driving is not only illegal but also immensely dangerous, posing significant risks to the driver, passengers, and other road users. Unfortunately, not many of us are aware of what the law says about underage driving.

Penalties for underage driving in India vary by state but generally involve fines ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 5,000, depending on the offence’s severity. Offenders may also face suspension or revocation of their driving licenses. Legal repercussions extend beyond fines; underage drivers involved in accidents can be held liable for damages and injuries and face criminal charges for reckless driving and endangerment. Moreover, in such scenarios, insurance claims are often invalidated due to the involvement of an underage driver.

Section 199A of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 penalizes not only underage drivers but also the vehicle owners who permit minors to drive. This includes a hefty fine of Rs. 25,000 and potentially a three-year prison sentence for the vehicle owner, along with the cancellation of the vehicle’s registration for one year. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act further mandates that minors caught driving be sent to a juvenile home for up to three years, with their parents or guardians also facing possible fines or imprisonment.

To combat underage driving, it is crucial that parents and guardians actively discourage this practice. They should ensure their children receive proper driver training and only apply for a license only upon reaching the legal age. Community leaders, educators, and parents must collaborate to raise awareness about the dangers of underage driving.

Enforcing the legal driving age and imposing stringent penalties on offenders are essential measures. Equally important is the role of parents in educating their children about safe driving practices and the severe consequences of flouting the law. Through collective effort and vigilant enforcement, we can mitigate the risks associated with underage driving and ensure safer roads for everyone.

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