Have you ever heard about Singapore being called a ‘fine’ city? Well, it really is, and for a number of good reasons. Public roads and infrastructures are given a premium in this top-class city so it’s no wonder why the traffic police (TP) make strict measures in upholding road regulations and good driving conduct by ensuing penalties and fines according to the Road Traffic Act. Now let us take a look at some of the most common driving violations and penalties enacted in the city.
Congratulations if you’ve gotten your license to drive in Singapore. Please do note the common traffic violations and their corresponding fines to make you aware in following traffic rules and avoid accidents. Here we list them out.
Common Road Violations and their Prescribed Sanctions
Driving offences come as plenty as they are listed in the book, but let’s take a look at some of the major violations:
- Driving beyond the speed limit
All vehicles in Singapore are not allowed to go beyond the 50 km/h speed limit in any city roads with a few exemptions of fire engines, ambulances and Government transport vehicles for the official use of the Singapore Civil Defense Force and the Singapore Police. Offenders will be brought to court for trial.
- Use of Mobile Device while Driving
Responsible driving entails not texting or using any mobile gadgets while driving. If caught, first-time violators can be fined for up to USD 1,000 and/or serve jail time for up to six months. Subsequent offenses can be fined for not more than USD 2,000 and/or send offenders to serve 1-year imprisonment.
- Dangerous Driving
Reckless driving poses a grave danger to the public and may also cause substantial damages to properties and infrastructures. This is the very reason why anyone who is caught driving in this manner can be fined for up to $3,000 and/or be held liable for imprisonment for up to one year. Subsequent offenses are punishable with a fine of as much as $5,000, offenders may also be sent to serve jail time for up to two years. Depending on the nature and severity of the situation which includes the road location, and traffic situation at the time of the incident, offenders may even have their licences revoked.
- Irresponsible Driving / Driving without due care
While this seems pretty similar to the previous point, careless driving mainly focuses on how heedless the driver is towards traffic situations and his non-observance of traffic laws whereas reckless driving involves driving at speeds considered dangerous to the public and the driver himself. First-time offenders may be fined for up to $1,000 and/or be held to serve jail time of up to 6 months. Subsequent offences are grounds for a fine of not more than $2,000 and/or 12-month imprisonment.
- Reckless driving resulting to death
This offence is directly related to point #3, and is a legal ground for 5-years imprisonment. However, if legal investigations do not sufficiently relate the death(s) to reckless driving, the offence will simply fall under point #3.
- Driving under the Influence (DUI)
Anyone caught driving under the influence of any intoxicating substance (alcohol or drugs), which renders the driver incapable of taking full control of his senses and judgment while driving or whose alcohol intake exceeds beyond prescribed blood levels will be held liable for this offence. First-time offenders may be fined by as much as $1,000 but not more than $5,000 or serve prison time of up to six months. A fine amounting between $3,000-$10,000 and prison time for up to one year may be given for subsequent offences.
…and the typically overlooked ones:
- Making Illegal U-turns
In Singapore, it’s illegal to make U-turns where there is no sign that says so. This is dangerous because drivers may make this mistake at right-turning corners where they may come in collision with other vehicles heading their direction.
Offenders may be fined $70 for this simple violation.
- Slowing down on the Right Lane
If you’re a beginner learning to drive in Singapore, it’s important to understand the purpose of certain boundaries or lanes you take, especially on public highways. The right lane (AKA the “over-taking lane”) is intended for vehicles intending to overtake in the traffic; however, slowing down on this lane is considered road-hogging – a common violation in Singapore. Offenders, when caught by the TP, can be fined by as much as $1,000 and/or be made to serve three months of prison time.
- Parallel Parking in the opposite (wrong) direction of traffic
This one’s quite simple too, but is often neglected. If you’re parallel parking, remember to park the direction of the traffic. You may have to do it several times, but sacrificing convenience means respecting the law. It’s also safer this way: Imagine if you’re about to pull up back into the traffic and you’re coming from the opposite direction, you might blind approaching vehicles with your headlights, plus you’ll also have to go against the flow of traffic to get back on the right track. So if that made sense, best to parallel park on the direction of the traffic for everyone’s safety and convenience. Otherwise, this simple violation could net you a $50 fine.
- Irresponsible Use of Fog-Lights
Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you can do whatever with it. Try to relate that to the use of fog-lights. The Land Transportation Authority of Singapore has set certain standards on the use of fog-lights while driving. On typical weather conditions, the use of fog-lights is considered a legal driving violation. This is because turning on your fog-lights may distract the driver in front of you. Moreover, during heavy rain or fog, turning on more lights may diffuse the light into the surroundings which may cause glare and reduce vision. Also, even if you switch off your main beam for your fog-lights, this doesn’t save you as much energy you may think it would. Offenders may be fined for up to $1,000 and be held liable to serve three months in jail. Subsequent violations will double the aforementioned sanctions.
- Keeping your Engine on while your Car is Idle
Okay, it’s already 2017 and there are far more things that we need to be aware of than just road signs and traffic rules. It’s good to note that Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has weighed in on driving policies most especially now that global warming is actually a thing of concern. Because of this, it is now prohibited to leave your car’s engine on when idle or when the car is not moving, for any period of time. Obviously, this doesn’t apply when you stop at a red light. Violators can be fined anywhere between $70 to a whopping $2,000! But the price we have to pay for this offence simply makes sense as an idle car can contribute to emissions which are very harmful for our health and the environment.
Traffic laws and road regulations are there for a purpose. It is our responsibility not only to follow the law but also to know what these laws stand for. That way, we won’t be simply acting out of compliance or just to avoid fines, but to follow the law to contribute a positive change in our habits and lifestyle in general.