The Second Minister for Home Affairs, S. Iswaran, has announced several new initiatives to improve safety on the roads through increased enforcement and education for motorists. This comes after an increase in the number of traffic offenses committed last year, up from 316,214 in 2011 to 327,503 in 2012. Apart from more motorists being caught speeding and running red lights, a spate of high-profile accidents involving heavy vehicles has also prompted the authorities to step up efforts to protect road users.
The new initiatives include:
- Increased surveillance by enforcement officers
- More red light and speed cameras to be installed, with existing ones being upgraded
- Additional demerit point for offences within school zones
- Compulsory Expressway Familiarisation Ride course for new motorcyclists
- Voluntary Safe Driving Course for drivers with demerit points
Unveiling the new Safer Roads Singapore strategy in Parliament, Mr Iswaran declared that there will be an increased presence of Traffic Police officers on the roads with 70 more officers being deployed, bringing the total patrol strength to 210. The number of red light and speed cameras installed across the island will rise from 240 to 300 by the end of 2014, with existing cameras being digitised so that summons can be processed faster.
A tougher stance has been adopted against reckless driving within school zones, with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) punishing motorists with an additional demerit point if offences are committed within zones marked by the distinctive red textured surfaces and ‘School Zone’ signs. The extra demerit point could cause a new driver on probation to have his licence revoked, as he would be slapped with 13 demerit points instead of 12 for running a red light within a school zone.
Besides increased enforcement efforts, the Traffic Police is aiming to improve education for motorcyclists and drivers by offering relevant courses to them. All new motorcyclists will have to attend a mandatory Expressway Familiarisation Ride course from June this year. Previously, the course was optional for new Class 2B licence holders.
A new Safe Driving Course has also been introduced by the Traffic Police. Targeted at offenders who have accumulated 12 or more demerit points, the voluntary course aims to correct unsafe road habits. Participants who have successfully completed it will have 3 demerit points deducted from their record.