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New harsher motoring penalties for irresponsible drivers

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Motorists in Singapore caught driving irresponsibly will be given stiffer jail sentences and increased fines and penalties.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest changes.

Changes to composition sums or fines

Motorist Offences

Composition sums or fines for motorist road traffic offences have been increased.

For instance offences that carry 3 demerit points such as failing to wear a seatbelt have increased by $30 to $150 for light vehicles. Failing to comply to red traffic lights or running a red light (12 demerit points) has doubled from $200 to $400 for light vehicles.

But it’s the heavy vehicles that have seen the biggest increase in fines. Running a red light, for instance, has increased from $230 to $500.These sums were last reviewed in 2000.

Motorists offences and new fines

Road Traffic Act Offence

Previous fines

New fines

Light Vehicle

Heavy Vehicle

Light Vehicle

Heavy Vehicle

Offences with 0 Demerit Points

Includes iIllegal U-turn





Offences with 3 Demerit Points

Includes driver failing to wear seat belt





Offences with 4 Demerit Points

Includes crossing double white lines





Offences with 6 Demerit Points

Includes driving on the shoulder of an expressway





Offences with 8 or 9 Demerit Points

Includes driving without due care or reasonable consideration for other road users





Offences with 12 Demerit Points

Includes failure to conform to red light signal





Offences above 12 Demerit Points

Includes reckless or dangerous driving

No composition offered, due to severity of offences

The increase in composition sums for offences committed by drivers of heavy vehicles is higher than that for drivers of light vehicles, because heavy vehicles are more likely to cause death or serious injury when they are involved in accidents. Consequently, there is a need for a stronger deterrent.

New composition fines for speeding

speeding table

Pedestrian and cyclist offences

Road Traffic Act Offence

Previous fines

New fines

General Pedestrian Offences

Includes failing to cross at a pedestrian crossing



Pedestrian Offences at an Expressway

Includes entering an expressway tunnel on foot



Cyclist Offences

Includes careless riding, not wearing a helmet while riding on the road, failure to conform to red light signal



Drivers will be kept off the roads for a longer period. Here’s how:

Licence suspended

The range of offences for which you will have your licence immediately suspended has been expanded and will now include Driving Under the Influence (DUI), Dangerous Driving, and Careless Driving Causing Death or Grievous Hurt. This will prevent irresponsible motorists from being able to still drive right up until the courts have decided on their case. 

Car forfeited

The range of offences for which your vehicle may be forfeited has also broadened. At the moment you can have your vehicle forfeited for a select group of offences such as Driving Whilst Disqualified for at least the second time and Illegal Speed Trials. Added to that list is Egregious Irresponsible Driving offences. Examples of egregious driving include drink-driving, driving against the flow of traffic, swerving across lanes at high speed, and speeding past pedestrian crossings when you don’t have the right of way.

Disqualifed or banned from driving

The range of offences for which you will get a minimum disqualification (DQ) is also to be expanded. And the existing minimum disqualification period for the offence of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is to be increased.

Penalties for driving while disqualified or suspended will be increased as well.

Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving

Two classes of Irresponsible Driving offences have been created. These are: Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving.

Irresponsible Driving offences have typically been prosecuted under the Rash Act and Negligent Act in the Penal Code, as well as Reckless or Dangerous Driving and Driving without Due Care or Reasonable Consideration in the Road Traffic Act.

With the creation of the new offences of Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving in the RTA, it is expected that Irresponsible Driving will mainly be dealt with by these two new offences.

Penalty for Dangerous Driving is up to 8 years for first offence

Minimum sentence of at least 1 year, if death or grievous hurt is caused

Sentence doubled for repeat offenders

What is Dangerous Driving? How does it differ to Careless Driving?

Under the new enhanced laws Dangerous Driving will be distinguished from Careless Driving through:

  • The manner of driving. For example, whether the motorist was driving at an excessively high speed, or manoeuvring their vehicle within very close proximity to other vehicles;

    Whether the motorist was driving when they were clearly not in a state to drive safely. For instance, being sleep-deprived, or not wearing any visual aid when needed; and

    Whether the situation required the motorist to exercise extra care. For example, when approaching zebra or pedestrian crossings but they did not.

Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving will be further broken down into four categories. These are: Death, Grievous Hurt, Hurt and Endangers Life.

Grievous Hurt refers to injuries that have a potentially long-lasting impact on the victim including permanent blindness and physical disability. While Hurt refers to injuries of a more transient nature including cuts and bruises.

Each Dangerous or Careless Driving offence will come with a longer maximum imprisonment term and a higher maximum fine than the corresponding Rash Act or Negligent Act offence in the Penal Code. The MHA explained: “The basis for higher penalties is that motorists, being in control of a vehicle that they know can potentially cause great harm to other road users, ought to exercise greater care and responsibility.”

Dangerous or Careless Driving whilst ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI)

If a Dangerous or Careless Driving offence was committed while the motorist was driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol or drugs, he will be liable for additional penalties, which will run consecutively.

Mandatory minimum sentences (“MMS”) for imprisonment will be imposed for the most Egregious Irresponsible Driving offences. For example, where the motorist drives dangerously or while under the influence of alcohol, and causes Death or Grievous Hurt.

The maximum penalties and MMS terms for repeat offenders will be higher than those for first-time offenders.

Enhanced Penalties under Road Traffice Act


Maximum Imprisonment Term

Disqualification from Driving

Add-On Penalties for Dangerous and Careless Driving Offences, should the motorist have committed them while Under the influence of Alcohol & Drugs

Maximum imprisonment Term

Disqualification from Driving

Dangerous Driving

Up to 8 years for first offence

Minimum sentence of at least 1 year, if death or grievous hurt is caused

Sentece doubled for repeat offenders.

Yes, Courts can impose DQ Minimum period of 8 years, if death or grievous hurt is caused

Up to 2 additional years for first offence

Minimum additional sentence of at least 1 year, if death or grievous hurt is caused

Additional sentence is doubled, for repeat offenders

Minimum additional period of at least 2 years for first offence

Additional period is doubled, for repeat offenders

Careless Driving

Up to 3 years for first offence

Sentence doubled, for repeat offenders

Yes, Courts can impose DQ

Up to 2 additional years for first offence

Additional sentence doubled, for repeat offenders

Minimum additional period of at least 2 years for first offence

Additional period is doubled, for repeat offenders

How to check if you have a fine

You can check the details of traffic offences of a vehicle (using NRIC, photo card driving licence number or foreign registered vehicle number) by logging onto the Singapore Police Force with your contact details

The Electronic Driver Data Information & Enquiry System (EDDIES) only reflects records of outstanding traffic summonses issued by the Traffic Police. If you are being investigated for a traffic offence but have not been issued with a traffic summons, the records will not be reflected on EDDIES.

After every traffic offence committed, drivers will receive a notification letter informing them of their demerit point status.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, it’s vital to have good car, motorcycle and travel insurance cover.
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