A recent incident in which a juvenile was arrested while he was driving in the South Al Batinah Governorate in Oman shows the appalling state of parental ignorance and complicity which can lead to fatal consequences.
This episode of getting children behind the wheel gives me the reminiscences of a father in the Indian State of Kerala, who was caught repeatedly posting pictures of his child driving high-speed cars like Ferraris. When admonished he was adamant that he would continue with the practice. The law blocking him from doing so was the other side of the incident.
Sadly, such a tendency has become a growing concern worldwide that, each year, underage driving offenders are getting younger and parents more apathetic. The parents even blissfully overlook the fact that they are placing their children in grave danger!
Most of the time, they encourage underage driving. I have seen many parents prodding their young children to drive when they run errands!
Adding to the gravity of such action is the huge threat that the vehicle in the charge of a child poses to both him and others. On the other hand, the ability of their children to drive is seen as an achievement by many parents and their indulgence has on many occasions led to needless deaths of innocent people!
Ironically, this is nothing but comes out of zeal to show how their minor child can drive a vehicle and feel proud and pleased without caring for the future consequences! Sometimes, overzealous minors resort to such adventures without the knowledge of their parents!
The consequences of the accident caused by underage driving are psychologically and physically traumatic and also, legally exhausting. More importantly, parents agonise over what has happened to their children and feel guilty about allowing their children to drive.
Also they feel troubled by the various procedures involved -- medical treatment and hospitalisation, not to mention, the distressing legal procedures involved in it.
In Oman, Article 39 of the Traffic Law issued by Royal Decree No 93/28 and Royal Decree No 38/2016 stipulate that “the owner of the vehicle, or the licensee in his name, possessor or responsible for it, shall be fully responsible for any violation of the provisions of the law or the regulations and decisions implementing it unless it is proven that someone else was driving the vehicle at the time of the violation, provided that he is committed to providing sufficient information for guidance about him".
Regarding other legalities and penalties, the law says, “without prejudice to the measures stipulated in this law, a fine of no more than RO 200 shall be imposed on anyone who violates any of the provisions contained in this law or its regulations and decisions unless the law provides for a special penalty for it”.
In my opinion, laws should, if need be, be further amended to punish parents, who allow their underage children to drive. It's parents' fault as they pamper their kids to drive cars and other vehicles.
We should realise that one needs to be mature enough to drive vehicles. If we love our children, we should give priority to their safety over their tantrums and wishes. As parents, we need to understand that although our children feel thrilled by driving a vehicle, their brain isn't mature enough to handle that 'thrill'.
Children always look towards parents as their role models. Therefore, parents should be careful not to set a bad example for their children.