With one of the best traffic infrastructure in the world, Singapore’s roads are generally safe and well-maintained. Over the years, improvements in cutting-edge surveillance technology has also enabled the Traffic Police to weed out traffic offenders, often with harsh punishments.

There are many regulations in place in Singapore’s traffic law. One of the more commonly heard ones would be negligent driving.

Found in Sections 337 and 338 of the Penal Code, negligent driving is the act which endangers life or the personal safety of others. The difference between the two sections is the severity of the offences.

In Section 337, the punishment for causing hurt through a rash or negligent act on the road that would endanger human life or the personal safety of others is:

  1. Rash Act: Up to one year in prison; or a fine of up to $5,000; or both.
  2. Negligent Act: Up to six months in prison; or a fine of up to $2,500; or both.

Section 338 covers cases that result in grievous hurt. Acts that endanger life or the personal safety of others, that also resulted in serious injuries:

  1. Rash Act: Up to four years in prison; a fine of up to $10,000; or both.
  2. Negligent Act: Up to two years in prison; a fine of up to $5,000; or both.

What’s the difference between a negligent and a rash act?

To put it simply, a negligent act would be for you to switch lanes, without checking your blind spot. A rash act would be when you turn into a one-way street and continue driving against the flow of traffic.

Real life example:

In a recent case, a school’s vice-principal was jailed for 10 days and disqualified from driving for 2 and a half years for causing grievous hurt through negligent driving after crashing his car into a market.

The man was trying to reverse his car into a parking space when his car bumped into a kerb. To remedy that, he switched his gear to drive forward, but caused it to surge forward and crash right into a florist’s stall and hit three other people.

One of the victims had his foot crushed, causing him permanent disability and another suffered a fracture in her ankle. The third victim suffered minor injuries.

Due to the grievous hurt caused, by an otherwise negligent act, his case was read under Section 338.

Our Criminal Lawyer, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, has defended numerous clients who found themselves in situations that involved negligent driving. With vast experience in Singapore’s laws, including traffic violations, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, or if you have been caught in a similar situation, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

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