SG drivers, take note: 6 things you need to know about the new traffic laws (Updated on 17 March 2015)

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Holding on to a phone but not doing anything while driving? According to The Straits Times, From 1 February 2015 onwards, it will be an offence—whether or not you’re using it or not. It’s just a few days away, so drivers would better know these before they’re charged—after all, in Singapore, “don’t know” can never be used as an argument.

Do note that a mobile device essentially refers to anything that you can use to communicate with others—be it a smartphone, tablet or even a pager.

Holding a mobile device while driving is now an offence
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve steering the wheel with one hand and just holding it on the other hand—as long as it is in your hand, you’ve just committed an offence.

Using a mobile device while driving is an offence
Remember advertisements about “don’t call or text while driving”? Well, now, it expands to “don’t Facebook / Tweet / Instagram…”, well, let’s just say, “don’t use your phone for anything while driving.” Even looking at Google Maps.

Using a mobile device when it’s mounted is not an offence
You can still look at the screen when you’re driving, although it’s highly unadvisable. In other words, GPS is still legal.

Using or holding a device when the car is stationary is now an offence
Say what? We’re all guilty of that, and unfortunately, the worst has happened: you can’t check your Facebook newsfeed when you’re waiting for the lights to turn green.
[Updated on 17 March 2015]: It appears that this is a misinformation. It is NOT an offence if you use your phone when your vehicle is stationary. We were, too, misled ;( Sorry!!

What are the penalties?
A first-time offence for any of the above offences can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and/or jailed up to six months. Repeat offenders can face up to $2,000 in fines and/or jailed for up to 12 months. There has been no mention about any demerit points, but let’s wait and see.

Wearable technology is not included—yet
There has been no new law passed for new technology like Google Glass or smartwatches. However, the Government has highlighted that they will “study the practices of other jurisdictions as they evolve to deal with (new) types of smart devices.” So, it’s a matter of time.

OTRO is closing, and this time, it’s confirmed. Here’s what you need to know:

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