The Traffic Police has reported an upsurge in summonses issued to motorists from 152,700 in 2015 to 181,000 in 2018. Due to the proliferation in irresponsible and reckless driving, authorities are taking a firmer stand against serious traffic offences
Taking public feedback into consideration, they have proposed numerous changes and additions to the current Road Traffic Act to counter this worrying issue.
Currently, traffic offences may fall under the Penal Code or the Road Traffic Act. As mentioned in the Parliament sitting on 6 May 2019, the reform proposed in the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill will bring all road traffic offences under the latter Act. More severe punishments will be imposed on a variety of offences as well.
Two brand new categories of offences have been proposed – Careless Driving and Dangerous Driving.
These are analogous to the Negligent act and Rash act in the Penal Code respectively. Punishment imposed for these offences will be based on the severity of hurt caused.
Minimum mandatory sentences have been proposed for the most serious offences, such as dangerous driving and causing grievous hurt and/or death while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Additionally, a lifetime driving will be imposed on third-time offenders who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol once the Act comes into effect. Penalties proposed have almost doubled the ones found in the current Road Traffic Act.
The Straits Times have helpfully set out the notable amendments to the act and their respective penalties in a table:
As safety of the general public is a matter of public policy, it is understandable why the government has decided to impose such harsh punishments for these irresponsible offences which threaten the lives of citizens.
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