Published: 29 June 2021
1. The amendments to the Road Traffic Act (“RTA”) 2019 and 2021, which were passed in Parliament on 8 July 2019 and 11 May 2021, will take effect on 29 and 30 June 2021 respectively.
Amendments to the RTA in 2019
2. The RTA was amended in 2019 to enhance criminal penalties and tighten the regulatory regime to deter irresponsible driving.
3. The following provisions from the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2019, on the Traffic Police’s (“TP”) driver licensing regime, will take effect from 29 June 2021:
a. Streamline the licence revocation and suspension processes for motorists who have accumulated more than the maximum allowable demerit points. Motorists will have a four-week period from the date of notice of revocation or suspension to appeal against the revocation or suspension. Regardless of the date of appeal, the revocation or suspension will take effect four weeks after the date of notice of revocation or suspension. If the appeal is successful, the revocation or suspension will be rescinded.
b. Lengthen licence suspension periods for serial offenders to up to five years, up from three years currently. The lengthened suspension periods will apply to motorists who have five or more prior suspensions.
c. Revoke all probationary licences held by an individual as long as one of his probationary licences is revoked.
4. Please refer to Annex A for more information on the amendments to the RTA in 2019.
Amendments to the RTA in 2021
5. The RTA was further amended in 2021 to improve road safety by increasing criminal penalties for specific traffic offences, enhance TP’s operational efficiency, and regulate the use of Power-Assisted Bicycles (“PABs”) by introducing a mandatory online theory test for PAB riders. The following provisions from the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2021 will take effect from 30 June 2021.
Measures to Improve Road Safety
6. The provisions to improve road safety which will take effect from 30 June 2021 are as follows:
a. Increased penalties for individuals who promote or take part in illegal speed trials, and new conditions for the forfeiture of vehicles involved in illegal speed trials.
b. Penalising motorcyclists who fail to ensure that their pillion rider wears an approved helmet, and increased penalties for importing or selling non-approved helmets. Motorcyclists who fail to ensure that their pillion rider wears an approved helmet will incur three demerit points, in addition to being liable for a fine.
c. Penalising individuals who obstruct, prevent or defeat the course of justice in road traffic incidents. This will cover individuals who mislead TP by facing the penalties on behalf of someone else, and individuals who mislead TP by asking someone else to face the penalties on their behalf. Such individuals may also be disqualified from driving.
d. Allowing the Courts to disqualify motorists who commit any offence in a road rage context, from driving.
Enhancing TP’s Operational Efficiency
7. To enhance TP’s operational efficiency, the reporting requirements for companies that own vehicles will be enhanced, with effect from 30 June 2021. This will ensure that companies provide information in a timely manner to TP to identify the driver of the company’s vehicle which had been involved in a traffic offence.
8. Companies will be required to designate a “responsible officer” who may be liable if the company fails to provide the information to identify the driver. The period that companies are required to keep records of such information will be increased, from six months to one year.
9. Please refer to Annex B for more information on the amendments to the RTA in 2021.
Regulating the Use of Power-Assisted Bicycles on Roads
10. Registration for the online theory test for PAB riders will begin on 30 June 2021. It will test the candidate’s awareness of active mobility rules, code of conduct and safe riding practices. The Land Transport Authority has announced that from 1 January 2022, PAB riders must pass the mandatory online theory test before they are able to ride on cycling paths and roads. PAB riders who ride a PAB on cycling paths or roads without having passed the online theory test will be liable for an offence. Persons who employ, or intentionally or negligently allow a rider to ride a PAB on cycling paths or roads if the rider has not passed the online theory test will also be liable for an offence.
11. More information is available at https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltagov/en/newsroom/2021/6/news-release/mandatory-theory-tests-for-power-assisted-bicycle-and-e-scooter-riders.html