Crash with animals: Rules being amended to cover hazard

Motorists who get into an accident involving any kind of animal may soon be required to stop their vehicles if it is reasonable to believe the animal has an owner or if it will pose a hazard to other road users.

Currently, they have to do so for only eight types of farm animals of commercial value listed in the Road Traffic Act: horses, cattle, asses, mules, sheep, pigs, goats or dogs.

Under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill tabled in Parliament yesterday, this could change, with the definition of "animals" expanded to the general definition of the word.

The proposed changes also expand the obligations of motorists to stop in the event of an accident involving an animal - in its updated definition - if it is reasonable to believe that it has an owner or if it poses a road safety hazard to others.

The motorist would then be required to contact the animal's owner, and alert other road users to the accident if it is safe to do so.

Other amendments include a four-week period for motorists who have accumulated more than the maximum allowable demerit points to appeal against the suspension or revocation of their licences. The suspension or revocation of a licence will take place after four weeks, unless a motorist's appeal is successful.

The Traffic Police will also be allowed to suspend a motorist's licence for up to five years under the amendments, up from three years currently, for those with five or more prior suspensions.

The proposed changes also expand the obligations of motorists to stop in the event of an accident involving an animal - in its updated definition - if it is reasonable to believe that it has an owner or if it poses a road safety hazard to others. The motorist would then be required to contact the owner of the animal, and alert other road users to the accident if it is safe to do so.

 

The Bill also clarifies that the courts are allowed to consider a motorist's record of his relevant past compounded offences as an aggravating factor for sentencing, as an indicator of his driving behaviour.

In addition, the proposed changes will allow all of an individual's probationary licences to be revoked if one of the licences is revoked. Currently, a motorist may continue to hold his probationary licences for other vehicle classes, even though one of his probationary licences has been revoked.

In another proposed change, motorcyclists or pillion riders who do not wear proper protective helmets will face increased penalties, up from the current fine of $200. Offenders will face jail of up to three months, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

Charmaine Ng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2019, with the headline 'Crash with animals: Rules being amended to cover hazard'. Print Edition | Subscribe