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a. MHA will create two classes of irresponsible driving offences – Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving – in the RTA, which correspond broadly to Rash Act and Negligent Act in the Penal Code.2
b. Dangerous Driving will be distinguished from Careless Driving through:
i. The manner of driving (e.g. whether the motorist was driving at an excessively high speed, or manoeuvring his vehicle within very close proximity to other vehicles);
ii. Whether the motorist was driving when he was clearly not in a state to drive safely (e.g. when he was sleep-deprived, or not wearing any visual aid when he needed it); and
iii. Whether the situation required the motorist to exercise extra care (e.g. when approaching zebra or pedestrian crossings) but he did not.
c. Each offence class of Dangerous Driving and Careless Driving will be further broken down into four tiers catering to different levels of harm caused, i.e. Death, Grievous Hurt, Hurt and Endangers Life (i.e. no hurt caused).3
d. Each Dangerous or Careless Driving offence will come with a longer maximum imprisonment term and a higher maximum fine, where applicable, than the corresponding Rash Act or Negligent Act offence in the Penal Code. The basis for higher penalties is that motorists, being in control of a vehicle that they know can potentially cause great harm to other road users, ought to exercise greater care and responsibility.
e. If a Dangerous or Careless Driving offence was committed while the motorist was driving under the influence (“DUI”) of alcohol or drugs, he will be liable for additional penalties, which will run consecutively.
f. Mandatory minimum sentences (“MMS”) for imprisonment will be imposed for the most egregious irresponsible driving offences, e.g. where the motorist drives dangerously or while under the influence of alcohol, and causes Death or Grievous Hurt.
g. The maximum penalties and MMS terms for repeat offenders will be higher than those for first-time offenders. An individual will be deemed a repeat offender, as long as he has been convicted in Court for any Dangerous/Careless Driving or related offence before.4
5. MHA also plans to keep irresponsible drivers off the roads, for a longer period, and in a more timely manner.
a. MHA will expand the range of offences for which minimum disqualification (“DQ”) periods will be imposed. The existing minimum DQ period for the offence of DUI will also be increased.
b. MHA will also expand the range of offences for which we will immediately suspend the licence of the offender, to include DUI, dangerous driving, and careless driving causing death or grievous hurt. This will prevent irresponsible motorists from driving, until the Courts have decided on their case.
c. The penalties for driving while under DQ or suspension will be increased, to bolster the effectiveness of DQ and immediate suspension as deterrents against irresponsible driving.
d. MHA will broaden the range of offences for which the forfeiture of vehicle may apply. At present, the Courts shall, on the application of the Public Prosecutor, make an order for the forfeiture of a vehicle for a select group of offences, i.e. Driving under DQ for the second time or more, and Illegal Speed Trial.5 MHA will expand the range of eligible offences, to include egregious irresponsible driving offences.