An amendment to the Road Traffic Act was introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs on May 6, and this will be debated in parliament in July later.
I almost fell asleep while reading the thing, so here’s a 5-second version: Drive carefully, don’t be an asshole. Punishments for irresponsible driving is at least doubled.
And the rest of the article is the 60-second version.
Really, everybody should have seen this coming. It is probably surprising that these punishments aren’t already in place, rather than the other way round. The first example of a proposed change will show you how outdated it is.
Updated Rules For Accidents Involving Animals
Current traffic rules only apply to farm animals of commercial value, like horses, cattle and pig. Which doesn’t make sense in the modern society where pets are everywhere and some of them are probably a lot more expensive.
(They also eat better than me, which I’d like to partly blame Goody Feed for.)
Now, motorists will have to stop the vehicle if the animal has an owner and/or if the injured or dead animal may cause a hazard to other users on the road. The owner of the animal must be contacted to exchange particulars, and to alert other road users of the animal for road hazards.
Let’s be honest, if you aren’t doing that already, you’re probably an asshole.
Criminal Penalties Doubled
Currently, there are two classes of offences: “Dangerous Driving” and “Careless Driving“. This is then further categorised into the level of harm caused; Death, Grievous Hurt, Hurt and Endangers Life (i.e. no hurt caused).
At this point I’m already sleeping, so all you need to know is, the more dangerous and more careless, the heavier the imprisonment term and fine.
A Mandatory Minimum Sentences (“MMS”) of at least a year will also be imposed for the more terrible offences.
Don’t need to think too much about the actual numbers, especially since it goes on a case-by-case basis. It’s at least doubled for both minimum and maximum penalties.
Straits Times has a very useful table here, if you need it for whatever reason.
More Offences for License Disqualification, License Disqualification Period Increased
The main point is that irresponsible drivers should be on the road less. Current minimum disqualification period for offences will be increased, as do penalties for no license driving, and repeat offenders.
Currently, driving with a license for first-timers is a punishment of up to three months imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. If this bill is passed, first-time offenders would face up to three years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
And if you’ve been suspended five times or more, you will be suspended from driving for five years, compared to the current “rate” of three years.
Public Feedback is Positive
Other than being positive because everyone in public consultations thought that it was about damn time, there were some concerns if motorists might be held liable for accidents caused by the victims.
The assurance is that it goes by a case by case basis, and whether the motorist had been driving safely will be a factor in deciding what happens.
So basically, about damn time.
And you shouldn’t be worried if you’ve always been a safe driver. Or, in fact, if you’ve always been a law-abiding driver.
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