- Singapore Press Holdings
Those who commit road traffic offences will soon face heavier fines and criminal penalties.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Thursday (Feb 21) that it will raise composition sums and enhance criminal penalties for road traffic offences with the aim of strengthening deterrence against irresponsible driving.
Although the number of road traffic accidents has fallen over the years, irresponsible driving remains a concern, the ministry said.
The number of summonses issued by the Traffic Police (TP) increased from 152,700 to 181,000 between 2015 and 2018, while public feedback on irresponsible driving more than doubled – from 6,900 to 18,500 – between 2014 and 2018.
As such, MHA said it will increase composition sums for six road traffic offence categories which will come into effect from Apr 1 – since it was last reviewed 19 years ago.
For light vehicles, the three most drastic changes apply to offences with six, eight or nine, and 12 demerit points.
The composition sums for light vehicle offences with six demerit points, such as driving on an expressway shoulder, will be raised from S$150 to S$200.
Offences with eight or nine demerit points, such as driving without due care or reasonable consideration for other road users, will have fines brought up from S$170 to S$300.
Offences with 12 demerit points, such as failing to conform to a red light signal, will see penalties double to S$400.
MHA said: “The increase in composition sums for offences committed by drivers of heavy vehicles is higher than that for drivers of light vehicles, because heavy vehicles are more likely to cause death or serious injury when they are involved in accidents.”
Pedestrians and cyclists also face harsher fines
And it’s not just motorists who face harsher penalties when breaking the law – those applying to pedestrians and cyclists will be raised as well. These were last increased more than 20 years ago, MHA said.
The composition sums for general pedestrian offences, such as failing to cross at a pedestrian crossing, will be raised from S$20 to S$50. Pedestrian offences at an expressway, such as entering an expressway tunnel on foot, will also see penalties raised from S$30 to S$75.
At the same time, cyclist offences, such as careless riding, not wearing a helmet while riding on the road, or failure to conform to a red light signal, will be increased from S$20 to S$75.
Creation of two new classes
On top of revising composition sums for road traffic offences, MHA will be creating two new classes in the Road Traffic Act (RTA) – Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving. These correspond broadly to Rash Act and Negligent Act in the Penal Code, MHA said.
Dangerous Driving is a more severe class as compared to Careless Driving. According to MHA, they will be distinguished through “the manner of driving, whether the motorist was driving when he was clearly not in a state to drive safely and whether the situation required the motorist to exercise extra care but he did not”.
Each of these two classes will be broken down into four tiers – death, grievous hurt, hurt and endangers life – to address the different levels of harm caused.
The maximum imprisonment term and maximum fine for each Dangerous or Careless Driving offence will be increased – where applicable – as compared to the corresponding Rash Act or Negligent Act offence in the Penal Code, MHA said.
“With the creation of the new offences of Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving in the RTA, TP expects that irresponsible driving will mainly be dealt with by these two new offences,” MHA said.
From Feb 21 to Mar 13, members of the public can submit feedback on the proposed changes via the REACH website, or email at RTA_Feedback@mha.gov.sg.