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Traffic Police Plans To Stop Issuing Physical Driving Licenses

In their push towards digitalisation, the Traffic Police (TP) announced that physical driving licenses will no longer be issued unless motorists request for one. According to Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs, Sun Xueling who spoke in parliament on Monday (8 July), the TP will only require the individual’s NRIC and date of birth to determine their driving qualifications. 

The Amended Road Traffic Act | Image Source: Parliament of Singapore

The Current Road Traffic Act | Image Source: Singapore Statutes Online

Following her statement, amendments were made to the Road Traffic Act under section 35C such that motorists will no longer have to surrender their physical licenses if they do not own one.

Another change that was proposed during the 2nd reading of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill included suspending or revoking a motorist’s license four weeks from the date of notice, even if the appeal against it is still being processed. This act was updated because of some errant motorists who have intentionally delayed the suspension or revocation of their licences by exploiting the appeals mechanism.   

Image Source: Parliament of Singapore

“They file multiple unmerited appeals at different junctures, and through different channels. By doing so, they dragged out the process, so that they can continue to drive in the interim,” stated Sun. Sun added on that by allowing them to continue driving during this interim, it would put other drivers at risk. 

Moving forward, she highlighted that the police will process and respond to an appeal within two weeks, as compared to how drivers were previously able to appeal repeatedly and extend this window. Other proposed amendments to further deter errant motorists include the following:

  • The licence suspension period will be extended from three to five years. In addition, the TP will be able to adjust the length of the suspension period depending on the individual?s previous suspensions.
  • Motorists who have one of their probationary licenses revoked will have their other licenses revoked at the same time.
  • Motorists to be required to stop their vehicle to render assistance to animals involved in accidents.
  • Motorcyclists or pillion riders will face a higher penalty of up to three months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000 if found not wearing the proper protective helmets.
  • Allowing the courts to consider past road traffic offences as an aggravating factor (i.e. something that potentially increases the severity of a criminal act) during a sentencing of an individual for road traffic offences.

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