Singapore

Support for young suspects

Students who are called to the police station for interviews while they are in school will be accompanied by a school officer familiar to them.

These officers could be their teachers, the year head or a school counsellor, Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng announced in Parliament yesterday, updating the House on what the Ministry of Education is doing to provide more support to students who are being investigated by the police.

Stiffer penalties for flouting traffic laws

Motorists who flout traffic laws, such as illegally modifying their vehicles or driving recklessly, could face harsher penalties.

Under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill introduced in Parliament yesterday, maximum fines for these offences will increase.

For instance, those caught altering their vehicles illegally can face a fine of up to $5,000, a jail term of up to three months, or both. Currently, the maximum fine is only $2,000.

Fines for motorists who drive recklessly will also be steeper.

Private-hire car services beware

Changes to the law proposed in Parliament yesterday could give authorities the power to clamp down on private-hire car services if their drivers are found to be operating without proper licences and insurance.

Under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, a blackout period of up to a month can be imposed on these services, during which drivers will be prohibited from driving for the errant ride-hailing service, essentially suspending its operations.

Such a suspension can be imposed if a car service has three or more instances of drivers flouting the rules within a year. It will come on top of penalties imposed on the errant drivers.

The Bill will have to be read a second and third time before it is passed.

The proposed penalties dovetail with new regulations that will be imposed on the private-hire car industry by the first half of this year.

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