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S’pore teen learns how to drive through YouTube, rents car using dad’s ID and drives 8 times before getting caught

The teen also ferried two passengers, both unaware that he was underage at that time and did not have a licence.

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Singapore — A 17-year-old boy managed to learn how to drive through YouTube videos and booked a rental car on eight occasions using his father’s identification.

The Singaporean, now 19 years old, pleaded guilty on Monday (Jan 17) to two charges, one for cheating by personation and another for underage driving. Another two charges will be considered during sentencing.

The teen, who cannot be named as he was underage at the time of the offences and therefore protected under the Children and Young Persons Act, applied for an account online with local car rental company Tribecar on Sept 24, 2020.

According to a Straits Times report, he used his father’s details, such as the photos on his identity card and driving licence.

After the application was successful, he rented vehicles from the company on eight occasions between Sept 24 and Oct 7 without his father’s knowledge.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Andrew Chia said that on Oct 7, the teen ferried two passengers, both unaware that he was underage at that time and did not have a licence.

It was not mentioned how the passengers were acquainted with the boy. However, they were eventually stopped by the Ang Mo Kio North Neighbourhood Police Centre officers at a roadblock on the Central Expressway slip road towards Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5 at around 3 am.

The boy failed to show the officers his driving licence, admitting he had none as he was only 17 years old.

“The accused admitted that he drove the rented vehicles on all of the eight occasions despite being only 17 years of age. He highlighted that he had learnt his driving skills via the YouTube video application,” said DPP Chia.

A quick look online shows numerous tutorial videos on YouTube teaching viewers how to drive manual or automatic cars, many of which have millions of views.

The judge on the case adjourned sentencing to March and called for a probation suitability report for the boy.

For cheating by personation, the boy can be sentenced to up to five years imprisonment and fined. Meanwhile, underage driving carries a jail term of up to three months, a fine of up to S$1,000, or both for first-time offenders.

In June last year, a 13-year-old girl managed to enter a van, turn on the engine and accidentally hit reverse while stepping on the accelerator. This caused the vehicle to go down a slope and into a drain at Telok Blangah. /TISG

Read related: 13-year-old reverses van down a slope and into the drain at Telok Blangah

13-year-old reverses van down a slope and into the drain at Telok Blangah

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