Some drivers in Singapore have used Carousell to skirt the law and its penalties for their traffic offences, as some on the platform are willing to be scapegoats, as long as they get paid.
CNA reported that those who take the fall are willing to absorb the demerit points at a price of S$100 per demerit point.
Taking the fall for someone else is itself against the law in Singapore.
Such cases can be dealt with as giving false information to the police.
However, CNA also reported that these listings have since been removed by Carousell, as they “encourage illegal activity”, a vice president of operations for the platform said.
How scheme works
The modus operandi is in fact very simple.
Both the offender and the scapegoat will meet in person at an AXS machine, where fine payments can be made, to execute the transaction.
The seller will assume the fault and responsibility of the traffic offender by declaring that he or she was the driver that flouted the rules at the time of the offence.
The seller will simply register his or her details to assume responsibility for the traffic offence.
Payment of the fine will be made by traffic offender, on top of a cost of S$100 per demerit point to be paid to the scapegoat.
For example, an offender with six demerit points and a fine of S$200 will have to fork out S$800 in total to get rid of his traffic offence.
Such transactions can easily go as high as S$1,200, if a driver, say, committed the offence of failing to conform to traffic light signals.
Why it works
Such a scheme works as the onus to declare a person as the offender is not witnessed by a third party.
Moreover, there are many people in Singapore with a driver’s licence, but lack the opportunity to drive because car ownership is hefty.
By taking the fall, there is little to no risk of forfeiting one’s chance to drive, as the demerited points reset to zero after two years.
Coupled with the possibility to earn as much as S$2,400 every two years with relative ease, the supply of sellers willing and ready to take the fall is unsurprising.
What can be done
Surveillance equipment can be installed at fine payment machines, where transactions are carried out, to facilitate identity verification purposes.
Additionally, traffic offences could be made to be resolved in-person at the Neighbourhood Police Post, where traffic offenders are required to declare that their particulars are truthful before paying their outstanding fines.
Singapore’s demerit points system
The Driver Improvement Points System (DIPS) was implemented by the Traffic Police in 1983 to ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians.
Depending on the gravity of the offence, demerit points or a combination of demerit points and fines are doled out to traffic offenders.
The licence of a driver can be suspended should he/ she incur more than 24 demerit points within 24 months.
This number of points and time is halved for a driver that has been previously suspended before he is liable for subsequent suspensions.
After the third suspension, the driver’s licence will be revoked. He/ she will have to retake two tests — theory and traffic police driving — to regain it.
Amendments to the law
Under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill on Monday, Apr. 5, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) proposed harsher punishments for those who obstruct, prevent or defeat the course of justice for road traffic incidents.
A new offence was created by MHA for traffic offender impersonations — those who “cause or permit to provide false or misleading information, or intentionally alter, suppress or destroy information that leads to the identification of an offending driver”.
If found guilty, the sellers can jailed for up to a year and/ or fined up to S$10,000 and potentially be disqualified from driving.