Tougher measures proposed for illegal street racing and road rage cases

PHOTO: Facebook/SG Road Vigilante - SGRV

Minister of State for Home Affairs, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, has proposed amendments to road rage incidents, illegal racing activities, and other traffic rules in Parliament on Monday, April 5, 2021.

The other proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Act include impersonation of road traffic offenders, stricter certified-safe helmet law for motorcyclists, and enhancement of operational efficiency for companies' vehicles involved in traffic offences.

Illegal racing activities

PHOTO: Facebook/ROADS.sg

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) proposed amendments to take action on those who promote or participate in illegal street races. Offenders will face heftier fines and jail terms of up to two years.

Currently, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail term of up to six months. If the bill is passed, it will be increased to 12 months imprisonment and fined a maximum of $5,000.

For repeated offenders, jail terms will be double up to 24 months imprisonment while the fine will be $10,000, increasing from the $3,000 fine imposed now.

MHA will also amend conditions for the forfeiture of vehicles involved in illegal races to be non-mandatory. In other words, the vehicle will not be seized if the offender had used it without the owner's consent.

Road rage

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/ROADS.sg

With increased road rage cases in Singapore, MHA has proposed giving the courts greater flexibility to disqualify errand drivers. For now, courts deemed road rage when a party has voluntarily caused hurt or death by an act of negligent or wrongful restraint.

Once passed in Parliament, it will cover all offences under any written law committed in the context of road rage.

Impersonation of traffic offenders

PHOTO: Singapore Police Force

MHA has tabled stricter law for individuals who obstruct, prevent, or defeat the course of justice for road traffic incidents. It refers to someone who is pretending to be traffic offenders or the one who misleads the Traffic Police (TP) by asking someone else to face penalties on their behalf.

They will serve a 12 months jail term, pay a fine of $10,000, and may also get disqualified from driving.

Safety of motorcyclists & pillion riders

PHOTO: Screengrab/Facebook/SG Road Vigilante - SGRV

Last year, 60 per cent of the total fatal traffic accidents involved motorcyclists and pillion riders. MHA proposed to penalise motorcyclists who fail to ensure their pillion riders wear approved helmets to curb the number of fatalities.

First-time offenders will face a fine of up to $1,000 or jailed up to three months or both. Repeat offenders could be jailed up to six months, fined a maximum of $2,000, or both.

Fines will also be doubled up for retailers importing or selling unapproved helmets; $1,000 for first-time offenders and $2,000 for repeat offenders, respectively.

Improvised operational efficiency

PHOTO: Unsplash

Lastly, MHA will also make amendments to TP's operational efficiency by enhancing reporting requirements for companies that own vehicles. In other words, TP will identify drivers when a company's vehicle is used to commit traffic offences promptly.

Companies will need to designate a "responsible officer" who may be liable if they fail to provide information to identify drivers who committed an offence when using the company vehicle. They will also need to keep records of such information will increase from six months to one year.

This article was first published in Motorist.