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Gov’t Passes Laws to Impose Harsher Penalties Against Reckless Drivers

Singapore has always been known as a place where discipline is strictly enforced. However, as one can imagine, even a country as disciplined as Singapore has its own set of problems to deal with — such as road and traffic violations.

In light of this, the government is looking for ways to manage these violations and to correct the behaviour of violators, who not only pose a threat to themselves, but also to the general public, and those who share the road with them.

Credits: gov.sg

Dangerous Drivers to Get Harsher Penalties Under New Laws

In an update to the Road Traffic Act on Monday (July 8), the government warned drivers who commit traffic offences while under the influence of drugs or alcohol will now face significantly tougher penalties, as shared in a report by gov.sg.

The key changes in the first comprehensive review of criminal offences and penalties of the Act since 1996 were designed to make Singapore’s roads safer by strengthening deterrence against irresponsible driving.

The amendments deal with tougher penalties for errant drivers by streamlining offences into two classes:

  1. “Reckless or dangerous driving” or dangerous driving, for short — the more serious offence of the two
  2. “Driving without due care or reasonable consideration” or careless driving, for short

Furthermore, dangerous driving will be distinguished from careless driving in these key ways:

  • When the manner of driving puts other road users at risk and causes other road users to be unable to react in time — for example, the motorist is driving against the flow of traffic
  • Level of risk-taking. When the motorist is driving even though he knows he cannot do so safely — for example, the motorist is using a mobile phone while driving
  • When he is expected to take extra care but did not — such as speeding up when approaching a zebra crossing

The degree of punishment for both classes of offences will be based on the level of harm caused. The four levels are: Death (being most severe), grievous hurt, hurt, and endangers life (where no hurt is caused).

In line with this, the maximum penalties for irresponsible driving offences will be increased. For instance, a first-time offender charged with dangerous driving causing death will be liable to up to eight years in jail. He will also be disqualified from driving for at least 10 years. Before the amendments, the offence carried up to a five-year jail term and disqualification from driving.

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