SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Following a car accident last year involving a high school student who was driving a car he rented through his father’s car sharing service account, the South Korean government announced plans to introduce stricter security measures to prevent similar incidents on Friday.
The case of a rented Kia K5 smashing into the side of another car, leaving two people injured and damaging other vehicles last December seemed like any other typical car accident until the identity of the driver in question was revealed to be a high school student.
During the investigation process, police discovered it was a high school student behind the wheel who was driving a vehicle rented through a mobile car sharing app using his dad’s account, causing controversy and worries over security loopholes in the identity verification process of car sharing services.
Against this backdrop comes a decision from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to impose a much stricter identity verification process to keep car sharing services out of the hands of those without a driver’s license.
With the measure devised to improve the safety of car sharing services taking effect from today, car sharing service operators in South Korea must check with a joint database system created by the Korea National Police Agency, the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, and the Road Traffic Authority to verify users’ driving qualifications.
If found in breach of the new regulations, such as neglecting to verify a driver’s information or renting cars to those unfit to drive, car sharing service operators could be hit with fines under the new rule.
Despite the growing number of users, car sharing services only required new members to make use of mobile phone verification to sign up for their services. After becoming a member, and using a credit card under the same name, practically anyone was able to drive.
However, with the stricter identity verification process put in place, which will also inform account holders of any attempt detected to use their account without their understanding, cases similar to that of the high school driver from last year are expected to be prevented more effectively.
“The new measures have been introduced to curb accidents and illegal driving by unlicensed drivers that have been occurring from time to time in the car sharing industry, an industry that has been doubling in size each year since 2011,” a transport ministry official said.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)