Traffic police 'intensified' enforcement, education & engagement: MHA on recent road safety concerns

Current road safety laws are already "quite stiff", said Faishal Ibrahim.

Julia Yee | May 07, 2024, 01:40 PM



Following the recent spate of road accidents, including the Tampines accident, which cost a 17-year-old girl her life, the issue of road safety was raised in parliament on May 7, 2024.

A range of questions were posed by various Members of Parliament (MPs) inquiring about Singapore's road safety situation.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Faishal Ibrahim shed light on the number of fatal traffic accidents in recent years, explaining that the traffic police have "intensified" enforcement as well as education and engagement efforts.

More fatal accidents

In the last five years, said Faishal, the number of accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities has fallen by about 10 per cent, from 7,822 in 2019 to 7,075 in 2023.

"By this measure, our roads have become safer," he stated.

However, the number of fatal accidents has actually increased.

The number of such accidents rose by about 12 per cent, from 117 in 2019 to 131 in 2023.

The top causes of fatal accidents between 2019 and 2023 were "failure to keep a proper lookout" and "failure to have proper control of one’s vehicle".

Current traffic laws "already quite stiff"

When asked if the government intends to increase the punishments for flouting road safety rules, Faishal said: "What the laws provide today are already quite stiff."

He explained that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had raised such penalties "significantly" in 2019.

Under the Road Traffic Act (RTA), for dangerous driving causing death, a first-time offender may be jailed for two to eight years, while a repeat offender can face 15 years.

In serious cases, a first offender may not be allowed to drive for 18 years, including his time in jail.

Faishal said that the government "periodically review" different aspects of this law, such as the "adequacy of composition amounts" and the "demerit points framework".

Traffic police increased enforcement

"Most people know about the regular enforcements," Faishal said.

On top of this, the traffic police have recently "intensified ad-hoc enforcement", which has detected close to 1,400 violations and arrested 29 motorists for traffic-related and other offences.

Since last month, they have activated the speed enforcement function in red-light cameras, particularly at places that are more likely to have accidents or violations.

While a useful deterrence, this measure also has its limitations.

"It is not feasible to install them at all traffic junctions and zebra crossings, given terrain limitations and other constraints," Faishal explained.

He added that the public may report traffic violations via the police's E-Services or Police@SG app.

Improving road safety through education and engagement

Addressing efforts to encourage safe driving, Faishal shared that eligible motorists may attend the Safe Driving Course and have four demerit points removed from their record after completing the course.

He revealed that the traffic police has been working with various partners and stakeholders, including the Singapore Road Safety Council, SBS Transit and Grab, to organise events and campaigns to promote road safety.

When questioned if all drivers will be made to attend regular refresher courses, he clarified that such courses were "optional" and meant more for those who have not driven for several years.

"We do not think it is useful to mandate the refresher course for all motorists.

Only a minority of motorists are involved in accidents.

The very large majority of motorists stay offence-free for many years, if not the entire period of their driving history."

"Most accidents happen because of poor road behaviour rather than inexperience," he said.

Photos from SGRoad/Telegram and MCI/Youtube