Hanoi police have fined more than 300 under-age high-school students for driving motorbikes.

The students, all under the legal driving age of 18, were apprehended last week during the start of a traffic safety month.

Dao Vinh Thang, deputy head of the Hanoi Traffic Police Department, reminded students, parents and teachers that high school students aged between 15 and 17 were violating traffic laws by driving motorbikes to school.

He said the department had put policemen in plain clothes on duty at many high school gates and parking lots to check on student ages and punish those breaking the law.

Nguyen Ngoc Tan, a policeman, said that many students wore a coat over their uniforms or left their motorbikes far from school to avoid being caught.

Most of the students fined were nabbed in the districts of Hoan Kiem, Dong Da, Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung and Hoang Mai.

Deputy head of the Hoan Kiem district Police, Nguyen Van Tong, said school staff and parents knew their children drove to school, but took no action.

One parent, Nguyen Phuong Loan from Tay Ho district, said her son had just got into a famous school in Dong Da district.

“It is 12km from my house to school so it takes a lot of time to reach it by bike or bus, especially in rainy or cold days,” she said.

“After teaching him to ride a motorbike for several days, I bought him one, even though I know he is not allowed to drive,” said Loan.

Policeman Tong said that unless these wrong attitudes were stopped, under-age traffic violations would keep happening.

“If parents don’t allow their children to use motorbikes, they won’t be able to violate traffic laws,” he said.

Tong said students also drove through red lights and exceeded speed limits.

Tran Ngoc Anh, head of the police Counselling Department in Hanoi, said information on all student traffic violations by students were sent to their schools asking for cooperation in making sure students did not offend again. However, police rarely got a reply.

Anh said schools and families should cooperate with police by keeping under-age students off the roads./.