LTA issued about 610 notices of offences a month to owners of illegally modified vehicles: Amy Khor
SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has issued an average of 610 notices of offences per month to owners of illegally modified vehicles in the past two years, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor (PAP-Hong Kah North) on Monday (Mar 1).
This includes modifications such as the installation of non-compliant exhausts, lighting systems and tinted windows.
Dr Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, was responding to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament Lim Biow Chuan (PAP-Mountbatten) on the number of drivers booked for illegally modifying their cars, and if any action has been taken against car workshops that have carried out the illegal modifications.
She said that LTA will investigate and take action against workshops if they are found to have done illegal modifications.
In response to Dr Khor's reply, Mr Lim said he has received many complaints from residents about the noise of vehicles speeding on the East Coast Parkway and Mountbatten Road.
"Residents complain that cars and motorbikes have been illegally modified to remove the noise muffler and hence are much noisier," he said.
"There are also comments that the car in the Tanjong Pagar accident was illegally modified and hence became combustible."
He asked Dr Khor if the Government will step up enforcement and impose higher penalties against workshops here that carry out such illegal modifications, adding that with travel restrictions, the modifications cannot be done or undone in Johor Bahru.
"At the end of the day, it's not just the driver who asked to modify the vehicles but also the workshops that are complicit in carrying out the illegal modifications," he said.
Dr Khor said that noise pollution from vehicles can be caused by various factors other than illegal modifications. As for the Tanjong Pagar incident, the police are still investigating and it would be premature to comment on it, she said.
Five men were killed after a car crashed into a shophouse along Tanjong Pagar Road and caught fire on Feb 13. A woman was severely injured after she tried to help the victims.
The Road Traffic Act was updated in 2017 to strengthen enforcement against car workshops, but it remains "challenging" to establish culpability, said Dr Khor on Monday.
For instance, the vehicle owners need to identify the workshops and agree to be prosecution witnesses, but the vehicle owners interviewed have not been co-operative.
"LTA is looking at other measures to gather evidence to take action against the workshops. But more importantly, what we do is to stem the demand for such illegal modifications ... that is why we have also enhanced the penalties against vehicle owners found to have illegal vehicle modifications."
In addition to stricter penalties, repeat offenders are made to inspect their vehicles more frequently, she added. Vehicles found with tampered engines also have to be deregistered.
With these efforts, the number of illegal modification offences have been reduced from about 1,800 per month in 2015 to around 550 per month in 2020, she said.
The Tanjong Pagar car crash was also mentioned in a supplementary question by MP Joan Pereira (PAP-Tanjong Pagar) on speeding.
She said that she understands there have been numerous complaints about speeding in the Tanjong Pagar area, and wanted to know what enforcement has the Traffic Police (TP) carried out in response to the feedback.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said that the number of complaints of speeding on Tanjong Pagar Road was not high.
"TP conducts frequent patrols and roadblocks in the vicinity to deter and detect drink driving and speeding," he said.