SAINT PETERSBURG — Police in Russia’s northwestern city of Saint Petersburg have launched a probe after a video of an 8-year-old girl driving 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph) through snowy scenery went viral on the Internet. The clip of Karina Mikulchik driving was shot by her mother Yelena, who was sitting in the back seat. The footage has been viewed nearly 500,000 times on YouTube.
The little girl seems unperturbed handling the Audi to the sounds of techno music from the stereo. A man sitting in the passenger seat, apparently her father, tells her: “Come on! Accelerate! At least to 100! Don’t be afraid.” The camera zooms in to show the speed creeping up to 100 kilometers. “If Nastya saw me drive a car, she’d pass out right away!” the smiling girl says at one point, apparently referring to a friend, as she speeds through a snow-covered field on a narrow road.
She does not appear to be wearing a seatbelt. At the end of the 5-minute clip, the car pulls up to a house in a rural village. After the mother posted the footage on her social networking page and YouTube, it was shown on television and caused a scandal. Police in Saint Petersburg opened a probe into traffic code violations and the parents’ willingness to give the steering wheel to a child. Almost 30,000 people die every year in traffic accidents in Russia.