Charges unlikely for underage drivers

By Kieran Campbell


Two young girls in trouble last week after crashing their parents' cars are unlikely to face charges.


A 12-year-old girl had taken a joyride in her parents' car and crashed head-on with her 14-year-old sister, who had gone looking for her in another vehicle.


The girls were lucky not to have crashed in traffic near their Te Kowhai home on the outskirts of Hamilton, district road policing manager Inspector Marcus Lynam said.


However, young people in trouble with the law rarely faced charges when there were alternatives for discipline, he said.


"The best outcome is by having a family meeting and working through an education-type role with parents on what type of punishment is appropriate, to look at what's the best outcome to deter them from doing something like that in the future," Mr Lynam said.


The two girls were treated at Waikato Hospital for minor internal injuries and a broken wrist after the crash.


At the time, their mother said the girls had made a "colossal mistake" and were both facing being grounded for a long time.


Mr Lynam said there was a wide range of options to discipline young people in trouble with the law, including unpaid community work, giving a donation to a charity, or writing an essay about the dangers of driving.


"All those types of things are appropriate for that age group," he said.He said the girls' collision happened in the driveway of their parents' home on Te Kowhai Rd, a semi-rural area in a 100km/h zone.


"The danger was significant because it's a busy road. The potential for tragedy was just huge. We're just lucky it was a low-speed collision at the entrance of the driveway."

- Hamilton News

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