Penalties for Dangerous Driving for Singapore Drivers
Perhaps you’re a fan of the Fast & Furious film franchise and want to try out those cool car stunts for yourself.
Or maybe you think you have the hots to be Singapore’s Best Car Drifter just because you own a sweet car.
Or maybe you’re just in a rush and are cutting in and out of the lanes so you can get home faster.
All these actions could get you charged for dangerous driving in Singapore. Do you know what the penalties are for drivers convicted of this offence?
What is the Offence of Dangerous Driving?
If a driver drives at a speed or manner dangerous to the public, he will be guilty of an offence under section 64(1) of the Road Traffic Act (RTA). Examples of dangerous driving include:
- Driving against the flow of traffic
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Disobeying traffic signals
Police officers are empowered to arrest dangerous drivers without a warrant.
What are the Maximum Penalties for Dangerous Driving?
For drivers convicted of driving dangerously under section 64(1) of the RTA, the maximum penalties for the offence depends on the extent of harm caused by the driver to any victims.
The penalties are stated in the table below. For disqualification for driving, the court can order shorter disqualification periods (or choose not to disqualify the driver at all) if there are special reasons to do so.
|Extent of Harm Caused / Offender
|Any other case
(Offenders convicted of dangerous driving AND either driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol or failing to provide a breath/blood specimen)
(Offenders who have been previously convicted at least once for dangerous driving or other offences such as speeding, careless driving and causing death by a rash/negligent act with a motor vehicle)
Non-serious repeat offenders
Serious repeat offenders
(Offenders convicted of dangerous driving AND either driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol or failing to provide a breath or blood specimen, where the offender has previously been convicted at least once of either driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol or failing to provide a breath/blood specimen)
Other Penalties for Dangerous Driving
Where the offence involves illegal car racing
From 30 June 2021, persons who promote or take part in illegal car racing will face enhanced penalties. First-time offenders will be jailed for up to 1 year and fined up to $5,000. Repeat offenders will be jailed for up to 2 years and fined up to $10,000.
The court may also decide whether to forfeit the car used if it belongs to someone else and was used without the owner’s consent.
What Sentence May Drivers Convicted of Dangerous Driving Get?
When deciding the appropriate sentence for a driver convicted of dangerous driving, the court will take into account:
- The harm that has resulted from the offence (see the table above)
- The driver’s culpability for the offence
Culpability of the driver
3 factors which generally affect the culpability of a driver for dangerous driving are:
- Manner of driving: How the driver was driving and the extent of danger posed to road users as a result of this. Culpability would increase where there are aggravating factors such as speeding, drink-driving, sleepy driving, driving while using a mobile phone, disobeying traffic rules, driving against the flow of traffic or off the road, being involved in a car chase, or having poor control of the vehicle.
- Circumstances of driving: Circumstances surrounding the incident which may have increased the danger for road users. Aggravating circumstances would include dangerous driving during rush hour when there is heavy traffic, driving within a residential or school zone, driving a heavy vehicle which is more difficult to control and requires a quicker reaction time, or where the driver intended to travel a long distance to reach his destination.
- Reasons for driving: The driver’s reasons or motivations for driving dangerously. Where the dangerous driving was deliberate, there would be higher culpability as compared a driver who drove dangerously in an emergency situation.
The court has stated that where the harm caused and the driver’s culpability are both low, a fine would usually be sufficient. However, the court will usually impose a jail term where the harm caused and the driver’s culpability are both high.
The penalties for dangerous driving offences are imposed with the purpose of deterring the commission of future offences by both repeat and new offenders. Quite apart from the possible harm to people (including yourself) or damage to your car, driving dangerously is definitely not worth being fined or going to jail for.
Keep these penalties in mind when you next think about swerving in and out of traffic to get to your destination faster, or getting into a car race, or beating that red light.
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