No penalty increases for dangerous driving, but uptick noted in fatal traffic accidents: Faishal

No penalty increases for dangerous driving, but uptick noted in fatal traffic accidents: Faishal

Singapore sees 12% increase in fatal traffic accidents between 2019 and 2023

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will not increase penalties for dangerous driving for now, associate Professor Faishal Ibrahim, who is Minister of State for Home Affairs said in Parliament on Tuesday (7 May).

He explained that the current penalties are “adequate”.

Source: MCI Singapore on YouTube

Assoc Prof Faishal was responding to calls by MPs to further deter dangerous driving following a spate of fatal traffic accidents, including one that left two dead in Tampines.

Singapore roads are safer but fatal accidents increased between 2019 and 2023

In a speech, Assoc Prof Faishal said Singapore’s roads have become safer. He based this on the number of incidents resulting in injuries or fatalities falling by about 10%, from 7,822 in 2019 to 7,075 in 2023.

However, he noted that fatal traffic accidents have increased by 12%. There were 117 fatal accidents in 2019 compared to 131 in 2023.

“There were 71 fatal accidents in the first half of 2023, and 60 in the second half of the year,” he said.

Failure to keep a proper lookout and failure to have control of one’s vehicles were two top causes of fatal accidents during this period, Assoc Prof Faishal said.

An average of three fatal accidents a year were investigated under the offence of reckless or dangerous driving causing death.

Meanwhile, an average of 29 fatal accidents were speeding-related each year during this period.

However, he said MHA will not increase penalties under the RTA, as this was last done in 2019.

“A first-time offender is liable for imprisonment of two to eight years. A repeat offender will be liable for up to 15 years.”

An offender could also face a minimum of 10 years’ disqualification from driving, beginning only from the time the offender is released from prison.

These laws are already “quite stiff”, he noted.

Regular enforcement helps deter offences & improve road safety

Assoc Prof Faishal also highlighted stepped-up enforcement action against traffic-related offences.

For example, authorities recorded over 800 speeding violations using red-light cameras since April.

More than 800 speeding violations caught by red-light cameras in 3 weeks

However, it’s not “feasible” to install red-light cameras at all traffic junctions and zebra crossings, Assoc Prof Faishal emphasised.

As for plans to improve road safety, eligible motorists can have four demerit points Safe expunged from their record when they finish attending the Safe Driving Course.

The course aims to correct poor driving behaviours.

He also rejected a suggestion for drivers to attend periodic refresher courses as “only a minority of motorists are involved in accidents”.

These courses are for drivers who haven’t driven in several years, Assoc Prof Faishal added.

“Most accidents happen because of poor road behaviour, rather than inexperience.”

In response to a question about installing speed limiters on all vehicles, Assoc Prof Faishal said that they’re only mandatory for lorries now.

“We have to balance the benefits with the costs,” he said. “For now, we assess that it would suffice to mandate installation of speed limiters for lorries.”

He urged everyone to do their part to uphold road safety as it is “necessarily a shared responsibility”.

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Featured image adapted from Channel NewsAsia. 

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