Driving offenses in Singapore and their penalties
Driving offenses and their penalties in Singapore are timely topics for discussion. This is because, according to first half results released by the General Insurance Association (GIA) in September, the motor insurance sector has recorded an underwriting loss of $12.6 million for the six months up to June 30th, 2018, compared to a profit of $17.2 million during the same period last year. The association reported a “significantly higher increase” of 11.8% in incurred motor insurance claims, amounting to around $291m in claims for the first half of this year, despite a slight decrease of 4.3% in the number of reported motor accidents.
While fraudulent insurance claims and claimants engaging lawyers could contribute to the phenomenon, given skyrocketing claims on the back of fewer accidents, it seems safe to deduce that accidents in the Lion City are becoming more severe and involving more casualties. In light of this, this week Kwiksure Singapore takes a closer look at the most common driving offenses in Singapore and their penalties.
Most common driving offenses and their penalties
Use of mobile communication device while driving
Section 65B of the Road Traffic Act (RTA) stipulates that whoever drives a motor vehicle on a road or in a public place while using a mobile communication device will be liable for a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both.
For second or subsequent conviction, offenders will be liable for a fine up to $2,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both.
Driving while under the influence of drink or drugs
According to section 67 of the RTA, whoever drives or attempts to drive a motor vehicle on a road or other public place,
- under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substance to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vehicle; or
- has so much alcohol that their breath and/or blood exceeds the prescribed limit,
will be liable for a fine of $1,000 – $5,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months.
In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, offenders will be liable for a fine of $3,000 -10,000 and imprisonment of up to 12 months.
Also, offenders will be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving license for a period of at least 12 months from the date of their conviction or release from prison.
Driving without due care or reasonable consideration
Section 65 of the RTA states that whoever drives a vehicle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, will be liable for a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 6 months, or both.
In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, offenders will be liable for a fine up to $2,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both.
Driving without a qualified license
Section 43(3-4) of the RTA states that whoever drives without a qualified driving license will be liable for a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 3 years, or both.
Subsequent offenders may also have their vehicle forfeited.
Driving when license is suspended
Section 47E of the RTA states that whoever drives while his driving license is suspended will be liable for a fine up to $5,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both.
In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, offenders will be liable for a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 3 years, or both.
Dangerous or reckless driving
Section 64 of the RTA states that whoever drives on a road recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public, will be liable for a fine up to $5,000 or imprisonment up to 12 months, or both.
In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, offenders will be liable for a fine up to $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both.
Causing death by reckless or dangerous driving
Section 66 of the RTA states that whoever causes the death of another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road recklessly, or at a speed or in a manner dangerous to the public, will be liable to imprisonment of up to 5 years.
Offenders can also be disqualified from driving for a certain period of time, or for life. This disqualification period increases in tandem with the severity of the offense, and is compulsory for repeat offenders.
According to the guidelines laid out by the court for dangerous driving, the judge will take into account all the circumstances of the case, including the different degrees of harm resulting from the offense; and the offender’s culpability, such as the manner and circumstances of driving, together with a number of mitigating and aggravating factors.
Different degrees of harm
The judge will consider the actual or potential harm caused by the offense. There are four categories of harm.
|Slight harm||Slight or moderate property damage and/or slight physical injury not requiring hospitalization or medical leave.|
|Moderate harm||Serious property damage and/or moderate personal injury requiring hospitalization or medical leave but no fractures or permanent injuries.|
|Serious harm||Serious personal injury which usually involves fractures. Serious personal injuries also include injuries which are permanent and/or which require significant surgery.|
|Very serious harm||Loss of limb, sight, hearing or life, or where there is paralysis.|
|Low||Low alcohol level and no evidence of dangerous driving behavior|
|Medium||Moderate to high alcohol level or dangerous driving behavior|
|High||High alcohol level and dangerous driving behavior|
Apart from alcohol level, the High Court has also stated that the following factors that will affect culpability for dangerous driving offenses:
Manner of driving
This assesses how dangerous the driving was, and the extent of danger to road users as a result of the offender’s conduct. For example, if the driver is in a car chase or drives off the road, he will face more serious penalties.
Circumstances of driving
The circumstances surrounding the incident that may have increased the danger to road users during the incident, such as during rush hour or within a school zone.
Offender’s reasons for driving
Whether the offenders are driving dangerously on purpose, versus being in an extenuating circumstance, like an emergency situation.
Mitigating and aggravating factors
There are also a variety of mitigating factors the judge will consider, including remorse, having a clean driving record, voluntary restitution, a timeous plea of guilt, and cooperation with the authorities.
In comparison, the judge might impose a heavier penalty if there are some aggravating factors that increase the culpability of the driver, such as when he or she shows belligerent conduct upon apprehension, has a bad driving record, and/or evidently lacks remorse.
A wealth of driving-related information at your fingertips
We hope that the above information concerning offenses and penalties can remind our readers of the importance of driving safety. Here at Kwiksure Singapore, we are dedicated to providing our potential and existing clients with trending news and useful information pertaining to motor insurance. As an established car insurance brokerage, our team of experts is on hand to offer you unbiased advice. Feel free to contact us today to get answers to your insurance questions, a free quote, and a plan comparison!