Harsher Penalties for Motorists in Singapore (for Serious Offences)

In Singapore recently, there has been a spike in the number of drink driving cases, drivers beating red lights, and accidents on the road. To some drivers, this may come as a surprise, especially since it seems like our Traffic Police and LTA officers are very active in patrolling and carrying out enforcement activities !

To others, it may not be that surprising, since news outlets have been reporting that the number of crimes reported in Singapore has been on the rise. to about 33,134 cases in 2018, up from 32,668 in 2017. With online scams such as e-commerce, loan and credit-for-sex scams contributing significantly to this figure. That’s about 90 reported cases per day ! For those who use online platforms like whatsapp, facebook, Carousell (which is almost all of us)  - do be wary !

On to traffic related offences, there were 176 cases of drink driving accidents in 2018, up from 150 in 2017. And figures for beating red lights stood at 53,910 cases in 2018, up from 46,599 in 2017. A staggering 147 cases per day !

That being said, the traffic police, LTA and MHA are taking the right approach, which is to increase the fines and hand out harsher punishments for errant drivers. 

Under the proposed changes, traffic offences will come with longer maximum imprisonment term and higher maximum fines, and the authorities will also be able to keep irresponsible drivers or repeat offenders off the roads for longer periods of time. Essentially, offenders now face a maximum jail term of eight years instead of five, if charged with dangerous driving.

Examples of egregious driving include drink-driving and speeding past pedestrian crossings when the motorist does not have the right of way. 

Apart from raising jail terms and fines, MHA also intends to expand the type of offences for which a motorist's licence can be suspended immediately, to keep them off the roads while their court cases are pending. This is a good move, as dangerous drivers should be kept off the roads for the safety of other road users.  

Penalties for drivers driving while their license is suspended will also be heavier. There may also be more offences for which motorists may have to forfeit their vehicles. Currently, the courts may do so for certain offences such as illegal racing. 

Between 2014 and 2018, the number of feedback submitted by members of the public to the Traffic Police on irresponsible driving more than doubled, from 6,900 to 18,500, the ministry said. 

The sheer amount of public feedback we get on this also reflects how concerned the public is about unsafe driving behaviour.
— Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling 

Overall, we welcome the new stricter punishments that the authorities are implementing. This is because there have been too many lives lost, and families falling victim to selfish drunk drivers, irresponsible drivers and those who simply do not follow traffic rules (like beating a red light). 

Hopefully this serves as a deterrent and encourages Singaporean drivers to be more careful and considerate on the roads, in the hopes of reducing the number of road fatalities and cases of dangerous driving. Let us know your thoughts on these new changes below !