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Govt proposes tougher penalties for road rage and illegal racing

SINGAPORE — Motorists found guilty of committing any offence during road rage incidents may soon find themselves banned from driving, if proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act are passed in Parliament.

Motorists found guilty of committing any act resulting from road rage may soon find themselves banned from driving, if amendments to the Road Traffic Act are passed in Parliament.

Motorists found guilty of committing any act resulting from road rage may soon find themselves banned from driving, if amendments to the Road Traffic Act are passed in Parliament.

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  • The amendments aim to allow the courts to disqualify motorists who commit any offence during a road rage incident from driving
  • It also hopes to improve road safety by imposing heavier penalties on individuals who take part in illegal racing
  • Users of electric bicycles will be required to pass a theory test to be allowed to ride on the road

 

SINGAPORE — Motorists found guilty of committing any offence during road rage incidents may soon find themselves banned from driving, if proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act are passed in Parliament. 

The slew of amendments, which were introduced by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State for Home Affairs, on Monday (April 5), include increasing penalties for illegal racing and requiring users of electric bicycles to take a theory test before they are allowed to ride on the road.

Here is a look at some of the proposed amendments:

Road rage offences

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Monday that Singapore’s courts are allowed to disqualify motorists from driving if they commit road rage, but only under certain conditions.

For instance, the individual must be convicted of a specified Penal Code offence, such as voluntarily causing hurt, causing death by negligent act or wrongful restraint.

The amendments propose that this should be expanded to cover all offences under any written law committed during a road rage incident.

Illegal racing

To discourage illegal races from taking place, MHA is proposing heftier fines and imprisonment terms.

With the amendments, first-time offenders face up to 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of S$5,000. The current penalty is a jail term of up to six months and a fine of between S$1,000 and S$2,000.

Recalcitrant offenders may be jailed up to two years and fined a maximum of S$10,000, an increase from the maximum 12 months’ imprisonment and S$2,000 to S$3,000 fine imposed now.

Another proposed change involves making the forfeiture of vehicles used in illegal races to be non-mandatory. 

In other words, the vehicle will not be confiscated if the offender is not its owner or if it was used without the owner’s consent. 

Impersonation of traffic offenders

Under the amendments, all individuals who obstruct the course of justice for road traffic incidents will be punished.

This will cover those who mislead the Traffic Police by choosing to face penalties on behalf of someone else, or offending drivers who request a third party to do so.  

The proposed penalty for these individuals is up to 12 months’ jail, a maximum fine of S$10,000, or both. 

They may also face disqualification from driving.

Safety of motorcyclists, pillion riders 

Under the proposed amendments, motorcyclists who fail to ensure their pillion riders wear helmets that have been certified as safe to use will be punished. At present, only those who are caught not wearing a certified-safe helmet are penalised. 

First-time offenders could be jailed up to three months, fined a maximum of S$1,000, or both. Repeat offenders could be jailed up to six months, fined a maximum of S$2,000, or both.

There are also plans to increase the penalties for importing or selling unapproved helmets.

Right now, first-time offenders are liable for a fine of up to S$500 or a jail term of not more than three months, or both. The penalty for subsequent offences is a fine of up to S$1,000 or six months’ jail, or both. 

Under the amendments, the jail term for both first-time and repeat offenders will not change, but the fines will be increased to S$1,000 and S$2,000 respectively.

Under the proposed amendments, motorcyclists need to ensure their pillion riders wear helmets that have been certified as safe to use. Photo: Raj Nadarajan/TODAY

Use of electric bicycles on roads

Under the proposed amendments, users of electric bicycles will be required to pass a theory test to be allowed to ride on the road.

At present, they are required to pass the theory test to ride on cycling paths.

However, MHA said the changes will require them to pass only a single theory test for both path and road usage.  

Consequently, MHA said the amendments would also mean that it is not only illegal for individuals to ride their electric bicycles on the road if they have not passed the test, but for companies to employ anyone to ride such devices on the road if they have yet to pass the test. 

These include food delivery companies that fail to ensure that their riders have passed the theory test before riding their electric bicycles on the roads.

The proposed penalty for either offence is a jail term of up to six months or a maximum fine of S$2,000, or both. 

Uncooperative companies that own vehicles

The proposed amendments also aim to allow the Traffic Police to refine their operational efficiency, said MHA.

One of the proposed changes involves improving the reporting requirements for companies that own vehicles, which will allow Traffic Police to receive information in a timely manner when an offence is committed. 

For instance, the Bill proposes making it a requirement for companies to designate a “responsible officer” who may be held liable for failing to identify drivers who used the company’s vehicle to commit a traffic offence.

The responsible officer could be the firm’s chairperson, managing director, company secretary, or someone holding a position comparable to these posts.

It also recommends increasing the period in which companies are required to maintain vehicle log records from six months to a year.  

Related topics

Road Traffic Act road rage driving ban motorist Parliament

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