Singapore

WhatsApp message on using phone while car engine is idle is false

If you have received a WhatsApp message claiming that according to "new legislation passed in Parliament", anyone caught using a mobile phone while the car engine is idle will lose his driving licence for three months, dismiss it.

No such law has been passed in Parliament.

The message claims that anyone using mobile phones while driving, or while the engine is running, will lose his driver's licence on the spot for three months.

The Singapore Police Force clearly outlines on its website the rules for the use of mobile communication devices.

An offence for using such devices while driving is committed when the following three conditions are fulfilled:

• The vehicle is in motion; and

• The driver is holding on to any mobile communication device with one hand; and

• The driver is using any function of the mobile communication device. This includes making phone calls, paging for someone, receiving a call by pressing the keypad, surfing the Internet, playing games or sending an SMS.

The police explicitly state: "Using a mobile communication device while the vehicle is stationary is not an offence."

They do add, however, that "it is not advisable to do so, as the driver should remain attentive to his or her surroundings at all times".

CHARGED IN COURT

According to the Basic Theory of Driving (Ninth Edition), published by the Singapore Traffic Police in July last year, any driver caught using a mobile telephone while driving will be charged in court.

The penalty for the offence is a jail term of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

The offender is also likely to be disqualified from driving.

COURT & CRIME