The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2014 was introduced for First Reading in Parliament today.
2. The Road Traffic Act (RTA) provides the Traffic Police (TP) with the necessary enforcement and regulatory powers to ensure road safety. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last amended the RTA in 2010, to streamline the work of both TP and the Land Transport Authority (LTA), as well as to enhance TP’s enforcement powers.
3. As part of the Safer Roads Singapore (SRS) action plan launched in 2013, the current Bill will strengthen TP’s enforcement powers, enhance competency of drivers, as well as clarify the expected behaviour of vehicle owners and motorists on responsible road use.
Proposed Amendments to the RTA
4. The key proposed amendments are summarised below:
a. Strengthen TP’s Enforcement Powers
It is currently an offence to hold a mobile telephone and communicate with another person while driving. The scope of this offence will be broadened to make it an offence to operate any function of a mobile communication device while holding the device and driving. The offence will apply to all mobile communication devices such as tablet computers, in addition to mobile telephones.
b. Enhance Competency of Motorists
The amendments will require that motorists, both local and foreign, are familiar with Singapore’s traffic rules and conditions, and are sufficiently competent to drive on our roads.
First, following the amendments, work pass holders who need to drive as part of their job1 must now obtain a local driving licence within 6 months from the date of issuance of their work passes.
Second, the amendments will allow TP to implement a voluntary corrective training Safe Driving Course (SDC). Persons who have accumulated half or more of their maximum allowable demerit points and meet the prevailing criteria will be eligible for this course. Persons who pass the SDC will have three demerit points removed from their records.
c. Engender Responsibility in all Vehicle Owners and Motorists
The amendments to the RTA underscore our expectation for all vehicle owners and motorists to display responsible road use behaviour. First, a vehicle owner will now be presumed responsible for selected traffic offences if he fails to provide TP with the particulars of the driver who committed the alleged offence. Second, drivers will also be responsible for providing their particulars to the owner of any vehicle or structure that is damaged following an accident, even in situations where there is no other person present.
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
4 AUGUST 2014
1 These are persons who “drive motor vehicles carrying passengers and/or goods for hire or reward, or because of or under a contract of employment”.