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Teenager learnt to drive on YouTube, illegally used father’s name to rent cars

SINGAPORE (CNA) – A 17-year-old boy learnt how to drive on YouTube and illegally used his father’s name to rent cars on a car-sharing service.

The teenager, who is now 19, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge each of cheating by personation and underage driving. Another two charges will be taken into consideration for sentencing.

He cannot be named as he was under 18 at the time of the offences and is protected under the Children and Young Persons Act.

The court heard that the teenager applied for a Tribecar account in his father’s name around September 24, 2020. He submitted his father’s particulars and uploaded photos of his NRIC and driving licence.

The application was successful and the teen gained access to a Tribecar account in the name of his father, a 56-year-old man.

Between September 24, 2020 and October 7, 2020, the teenager rented cars using his father’s account on eight occasions and paid for the rentals himself. He usually drove the cars in the early mornings – between midnight and 8am.

File photo of a man driving. PHOTO: CNA

On October 7, 2020, he was ferrying two passengers in his car when he was stopped at a police road block along the Central Expressway and asked for his licence.

The two passengers did not know that he was only 17 and did not have a valid licence. The legal age to apply for a driving licence in Singapore is 18.

The teen was arrested on suspicion of cheating offences and crimes under the Road Traffic Act.

He admitted to driving the rented vehicles on eight occasions, despite being underage. He added that he learnt his driving skills on YouTube.

The judge called for a probation suitability report for the teenager and adjourned sentencing to March.

The penalties for cheating by personation are a maximum of five years’ jail, a fine,
or both.

For underage driving, first-time offenders can be jailed for up to three months, fined up to SGD1,000, or both.


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