Handling and using mobile devices while driving to be a crime

Handling and using mobile devices while driving to be a crime

SINGAPORE - From February next year, drivers will be prohibited from handling and using any mobile devices while driving.

Currently, only handling and calling or texting someone while driving is prohibited, Lianhe Zaobao reported.

Under changes to the Road Traffic Act, which were passed into law in Parliament yesterday, handling and using mobile devices to surf the Internet, watch videos, check e-mail messages, take photos, play games, and read - among other things - while driving will become crimes too.

The law was also changed to cover more than just phones. Mobile devices such as tablets are now included.

Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said that the changes will give traffic police more enforcement power to nab drivers who handle and use mobile devices while driving, the Chinese daily reported.

Several Members of Parliament asked if the law can take a further step forward to ban any products that may distract drivers, they also suggested expanding the mobile devices ban to include drivers who have stopped before a traffic light or stuck in a jam.

Mr Masagos said that it is impossible to list all types of behaviour and devices in the law. He also said that placing devices on a stand or using hands-free devices is permitted.

However, he said that those who drive while engaged in distracting activities, including eating or looking after children, can still be punished for inconsiderate driving.

The changes to the law passed yesterday also places more responsibilities on drivers, such as requiring them to leave their personal details behind in case of an accident, even when nobody else is around. Failure to do so may cause the case to be classified as a hit-and-run, Zaobao reported.

sinsh@sph.com.sg

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