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Amendments to Road Traffic Bill proposed in Parliament

More drivers have been caught for using their mobile phones while driving over the past three years and more could be caught under new, stricter rules proposed in the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill.

SINGAPORE: Multitasking drivers beware - under a new bill proposed in Parliament on Monday (Aug 4), it may soon be an offence to use any communicative function of your phone while driving.

This includes not just calling and texting a person which were an offence in the original bill, but surfing the internet and downloading material. 

Drivers guilty of such an offence may be fined a maximum of S$1,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both. Repeat offenders will receive a fine not exceeding S$2,000, imprisoned for up to 12 months, or both.

The new rules would apply to tablet computers, not just mobile phones. However, the proposed law only applies if the driver is holding the device in at least one hand, and does not cover the use of such devices while driving, should they be mounted on the dashboard or windscreen of vehicles.

Drivers Channel NewsAsia spoke to were in favour of the changes, but felt that it should be further expanded. "If you're playing with your phone regardless whether you're talking on the phone or searching for something, it's still very hazardous. Like me, I don't touch my phone while driving. I just put it aside," one driver shared. 

"I can just have it mounted and still type on the phone. It defeats the whole purpose of having the law in the first place," noted another. "It's just like looking at your GPS - you'll lose concentration. So I think it's best to totally not use it," concluded another driver.

Other proposed changes to the bill include allowing drivers to attend a voluntary corrective training course called the Safe Driving Course. Drivers who have half or more of their maximum allowable demerit points will get to remove three demerit points should they pass the Course.

Foreigners holding work passes who need to drive as part of their job must also obtain a local driving licence, within six months of the pass being issued.

Drivers will also be held responsible for providing particulars to the owner of any vehicle or structure damaged, following an accident. 

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