YouTube clip sparks outrage as internet users call for parents to be punished
A video showing a young boy driving a van in Saudi Arabia at a speed of 200 kilometres per hour has sparked outrage and warnings to parents.
The 15-second clip, which had been viewed online by more than 170,000 people in two days, records a young boy seemingly less than 10 years old, driving the GMC vehicle and overtaking cars on a busy highway in the Saudi kingdom.
The clip, which can be viewed below, was shot by van passenger while traditional music was playing.
The traffic police said they were alarmed by the recording and warned parents would be held legally responsible for allowing their underage sons to drive.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards allowing young people to drive,” Ali Al Rashidi, the spokesperson for the traffic general directorate, said. “The parents are held legally responsible for any accident that may occur. We request all parents to make sure their sons do not drive for their own safety and the safety of others,” he said, quoted by local news site Sabq.
Al Rashidi blamed the fathers for allowing their sons to drive and for filming them.
“Such parents have obviously lost their sense of responsibility in protecting their sons and society in general. Young boys are not at this age aware of the meaning of responsible attitudes,” he said.
Online users expressed anger and frustration with the adult passenger who allowed the young boy to drive at a high speed on a busy highway.
“This is not at all and in any way of source of pride for the father,” one blogger posted. “The van could have easily overturned if the boy lost control for a fleeting second since he was speeding. It is totally reckless.”
Abu Al Fawares said that the traffic police had to be more stringent in dealing with violations.
“You just look at our middle and high schools and you will be shocked by the number of people who obviously do not recognize cars as a means of transportation and use them for reckless fun,” he posted.
A blogger writing under the moniker of Blue Crescent said that more vigilance was needed around schools.
“The number of underage drivers is incredible and there are abuses by middle school students and there is an urgent need to impound the cars and to make the reckless drivers pay heavy fines,” he said.
Al Khafji said that the rate of accidents in his hometown in northeastern Saudi Arabia was high due to underage drivers.
“There is chaos on the roads because the rules and regulations are not properly applied,” he said.