Stiffer penalties in the works for motorists who commit offences in Silver Zones

The School Zone Demerit Point framework will be extended to Silver Zones. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Penalties for motorists who commit traffic offences at pedestrian crossings or endanger pedestrian safety in Silver Zones will be increased to better protect elderly pedestrians.

The School Zone Demerit Point framework will be extended to Silver Zones, which are located in areas with a high density of the elderly, or where accidents involving elderly pedestrians have occurred.

Announcing this on Monday (March 1), Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan said penalties for offences committed in school zones will also be raised to protect students.

"We are completing our review, and will announce details later this year," he said during the debate on the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) budget.

Under the current School Zone Demerit Point framework, motorists who commit driving offences such as running a red light in school zones incur an additional demerit point.

"This policy encourages motorists to drive with extra caution in such areas, and enhances safety for students," MHA told The Straits Times.

"We will extend this concept to Silver Zones... In addition, we will enhance the framework for both school zones and Silver Zones," the ministry added.

This comes after the police said in their annual road traffic situation report last month that fatal accidents involving elderly pedestrians aged 60 and older accounted for more than 80 per cent of fatal accidents involving pedestrians last year.

The number of fatal accidents fell by 29.9 per cent, from 117 cases in 2019 to 82 in last year.

The number of traffic accidents involving elderly pedestrians decreased by 27.1 per cent, from 321 in 2019 to 234 in last year.

The number of elderly pedestrian fatalities also fell from 27 in 2019 to 15 in 2020.

Responding to Workers' Party MP Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC) who asked if traffic offenders in financial difficulties can pay their fines in instalments, Mr Tan said the ministry has been studying this issue since last year.

He noted that those who are genuinely facing financial difficulty can currently appeal to traffic police. If the appeal is assessed to have merit, the deadline to pay the traffic fine will be extended, he added.

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