Police vowed on Tuesday to crack down on the chronic problem of underage drivers, two days after six people were killed in an accident involving the teenage son of a rock star.
Adj. Sr. Comr. Sambodo Purnomo, the Jakarta Police’s deputy traffic director, said his office would conduct a series of raids to catch underage drivers, but did not say when they would begin.
“Of course there will be raids, but they will be unannounced,” he said.
He denied the police were only addressing the problem in the wake of the deadly accident last Sunday on the Jagorawi toll road involving 13-year-old Abdul Qodir Jaelani, the youngest son of rock musician Ahmad Dhani.
“It’s not just this case that we’re looking at,” Sambodo said.
“What’s most important is that we all learn from this case and improve our driving discipline. Everyone needs to take a lesson from this case, especially parents and educators.”
The police ticketed 17,000 underage drivers in 2012, and in the first half of this year ticketed 8,000 — almost all of them motorcyclists.
Sambodo said that in light of the accident, parents would “no longer be allowed” to give cars as gifts to their children if they were under the age of 17 and thus ineligible to apply for a driver’s license.
He did not say what the police’s stance on the issue had been prior to the accident.
Abdul was reportedly speeding in his Mitsubishi Lancer in the early hours of Sunday when he lost control of the sports car and rammed through the steel highway separator before crashing into two oncoming vehicles.
He sustained a leg fracture in the incident, while six occupants from one of the cars that was hit, a Daihatsu Gran Max minivan, were killed. Nine other people suffered serious injuries.
Abdul has since been named a suspect for reckless driving, although his father and the police have tried to farm out the blame.
Dhani said on Monday that “everyone should share in the blame,” including the occupants of the other cars and Jasa Marga, the state highway operator.
“This is the responsibility of all of us, because it’s not just one person on the road. The government and Jasa Marga must be accountable too in this case,” he said as quoted by Detik.com.
“We shouldn’t let this happen again.”
He did not say why he had given his son the high-performance sports car as a gift for his previous birthday.
The police, meanwhile, have mooted the idea of charging the owner of the Gran Max for modifying his vehicle to carry 13 passengers rather than the original eight.
Adj. Comr. Agung Budi Leksono, the East Jakarta Police traffic chief, said the vehicle’s increased capacity was a major factor in the high death toll.
“It’s very possible that the party behind the Gran Max may be named a suspect, but it all depends on the outcome of the investigation,” he said.
Others, however, have questioned the specious reasoning.
Yudi Widiana Aida, a member of the House of Representatives’ Commission V, which oversees transportation affairs, said it was unthinkable Dhani would try to blame others for the accident.
“You better check yourself, don’t blame the government just like that,” he said on Tuesday as quoted by Detik.com.
“This was clearly a case of reckless driving by an underage individual going at high speed. That’s a clear violation [of traffic regulations].”
He added that any attempt to blame Jasa Marga was disingenuous, noting that it was widely considered the best-constructed and safest stretch of toll road in the country’s highway network.
“There are plenty of signs, and the safety features are adequate,” Yudi said.