Driving Without Due Care or Reasonable Consideration

Driving Without Due Care or Reasonable Consideration

Introduction

There is a purpose for the existence of traffic rules and regulations. These restrictions are in place to safeguard pedestrians, fellow motorists, and local peace and order. Mistakes do happen, despite our best efforts. Singapore has continuously had a high rate of traffic offences. Traffic regulations are strictly enforced to deter reckless driving, and violations usually result in severe penalties. Traffic laws are governed by the Road Traffic Act 1961 in Singapore.

Driving Without Due Care or Reasonable Consideration

Driving without reasonable care is described as driving a vehicle without appropriate care and attention or reasonable concern for other individuals using the road, according to section 65 of the Road Traffic Act. Driving without reasonable care, as opposed to reckless driving, is breaching traffic rules and regulations.

Thus, the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration has two distinct elements. Section 65(1) defines this offence and states that the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration is committed when a person drives a motor vehicle on the road:

1) Without due care and attention; or
2) Without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road

The provision mentions that the offence is committed if either of the elements is satisfied. Thus, if a person drives without due care and attention, they may be liable for this offence. Similarly, if a person drives without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, he may also be convicted for this offence.

Serious Offender

According to section 64(8), a serious offender is an offender who is convicted of an offence of:

  • Driving while under influence of drink or drugs under section 67; or
  • Failing to provide a specimen of breath or blood under section 70(4)
    Concerning the offender’s driving that is an offence under section 65(1). A serious repeat offender is someone who commits the above and has once been convicted of a specified offence. A specified offence is an offence of either:
  • Driving while under influence of drink or drugs under section 67
  • Being in charge of a motor vehicle when under influence of drink or drugs under section 68
  • Failing to provide a specimen of breath or blood under section 70(4)

General Punishment for Driving Without Due Care or Reasonable Consideration

The general punishment for committing the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration is mentioned under section 65(5) of the RTA. The punishments are:

  • For first time offenders – A fine of up to $1,500 or imprisonment for a period of up to 6 months or both.
  • For repeat offenders – A fine of up to $3,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months or both.
  • For serious offenders – A fine between $2,000 to $10,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months or both, in addition to any punishment for the first time or repeat offenders.
  • For serious repeat offenders – A fine between $5,000 to $20,000 and imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years, in addition to any punishment for the first time or repeat offenders.

Punishment for Causing Hurt

If by committing the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration, the offender causes hurt to another person, the punishments are, as according to section 65(4):

  • For first time offenders – A fine of up to $2,500 or imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months or both.
  • For repeat offenders – A fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years or both.
  • For serious offenders – A fine between $2,000 to $10,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months or both, in addition to any punishment for the first time or repeat offenders.
  • For serious repeat offenders – A fine between $5,000 to $20,000 and imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years, in addition to any punishment for the first time or repeat offenders.

Punishment for Causing Grievous Hurt

If the offender causes grievous hurt to another person by committing the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration, the punishment for such is harsher than that of causing hurt. The punishments are mentioned under section 65(3) of the RTA. They are:

  • For first time offenders – A fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years or both.
  • For repeat offenders – A fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 4 years or both.
  • For serious offenders – A fine between $2,000 to $10,000 and imprisonment for a period of up to 12 months, in addition to any punishments for the first time or repeat offenders.
  • For serious repeat offenders – A fine between $5,000 to $20,000 and imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years, in addition to any punishments for the first time or repeat offenders.

Punishment for Causing Death

The punishment for causing death to another person by committing the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration is mentioned under section 65(2) of the RTA and states that:

  • For first time offenders – A fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 3 years or both.
  • For repeat offenders – A fine of up to $20,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 6 years or both.
  • For serious offenders – Imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years in addition to any punishments for the first time or repeat offenders.
  • For serious repeat offenders – Imprisonment for a period of up to 4 years in addition to any punishments for the first time or repeat offenders.

Disqualification from Holding or Obtaining a Driver’s License

A court convicting an individual of the offence under subsection (1) must order that the individual be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence for a period not less than the specified period corresponding to that case unless the court for special reasons believes it is appropriate not to order or to order otherwise. The specified periods for disqualification are:

  • For first time or repeat offenders who caused the death of another – 8 years
  • For serious offenders who caused the death of another – 10 years
  • For serious repeat offenders who caused the death of another and have been convicted once earlier of a specified offence – 13 years
  • For first time or repeat offenders who caused grievous hurt – 5 years
  • For serious offenders who caused grievous hurt – 7 years
  • For serious repeat offenders who caused grievous hurt and have been convicted once earlier of any specified offence – 10 years
  • For serious offenders who caused hurt to another – 2 years
  • For serious repeat offenders who caused hurt to another and have been convicted once earlier of any specified offence – 5 years
  • For serious offenders under general punishment – 2 years
  • For serious repeat offenders under general punishment and who have been convicted once earlier of any specified offence – 5 years

Section 65(7) states that the court might order the disqualification of the offender from holding or obtaining a driver’s license for life starting on the day of the offender’s conviction if the offender is a serious repeat offender and has been convicted on 2 or more earlier occasions of any specified offence. This is applicable for all the scenarios including causing death, grievous hurt, hurt, or any other instances.

Arrestable Offence

Section 65(9) states that the offence of driving without due care or reasonable consideration is an arrestable offence. This means that a police officer may arrest any person who has committed this offence without a warrant.

Need for a Lawyer

There is no need to engage a lawyer if the offence is small and a settlement offer is made. You don’t have to go to court if you pay the amount specified on the notice. If the offence is significant, you can either request a trial to challenge the accusation, or you can opt not to defend the charge and plead guilty to the offence. If you want to plead guilty or claim a trial, or if you have been served with an arrest warrant, you may want to engage a lawyer to represent you in the case and offer essential legal advice regarding the consequences. A lawyer can advise you on the procedures to be followed and aid you in preparing for your defence.

Cases concerning Driving Without Due Care or Reasonable Consideration

1) Public Prosecutor v Chen Huani [2022] SGDC 105

The accused activated the right signal at a junction and proceeded forward when the traffic light became green, slowing just before the junction and turning right onto Irwell Bank Road. The accused took a right turn into Irwell Bank Road against the flow of traffic. The accused stated that she was not aware that she was not permitted to make a right turn at the intersection and that she had been following the GPS directions. The victim’s motorbike was travelling straight in the opposite direction at the time, and it had the right of way. As the victim’s motorbike approached, the accused failed to stop, resulting in a collision between the victim’s motorcycle and the accused’s car. The victim was flung from his motorcycle and suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash. He was taken to the Singapore General Hospital by ambulance, where he was diagnosed with a comminuted closed right femur subtrochanteric fracture. The victim did not work for approximately a year after the event because of discomfort in his right leg. The accused was a 41-year-old Singaporean woman who admitted to driving without due care and attention in violation of section 65(1) of the Road Traffic Act, which is penalised under section 65(3)(a) of the RTA. The accused was sentenced to 5 weeks in prison and was barred from holding or getting any type of driver’s licence for a period of 5 years, beginning on the day of her release from prison.

2) Public Prosecutor v Xavier Lai Goon Theng (Li Guan Ting) [2022] SGDC 76

The accused was a 21-year-old Chinese man from Singapore. He was a student and the driver of a grey Volkswagen automobile at the time of the incident. On his way to pick up a ‘Foodpanda’ order, the victim was riding his motorcycle and heading towards Bukit Batok Street 23. He continued to pass right through the signalised intersection because the traffic light was green in his favour when he arrived. The accused was driving the automobile down at the same moment. When the accused arrived at the signalised intersection of Bukit Batok Street 23 and Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, he slowed down to conduct a U-turn. At the moment, the traffic signal was likewise green in his favour. The motorbike had already arrived at the intersection at this moment. The defendant did not maintain an adequate watch for incoming vehicles. He did not come to a complete stop to let the approaching motorbike pass through the intersection. Instead, he proceeded to do the U-turn without regard for the safety of other road users, including the victim. The automobile encroached into the path of the incoming motorbike as a result of the accused’s driving, causing the motorcycle to crash with the front left section of the car. The accused’s driving resulted in serious injury to the victim. The accused thus committed an offence under section 65(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act, which is penalised under sections 65(3)(a) and 65(6)(d). The court sentenced the accused to four weeks in prison and disqualified him from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for a period of five years, effective from the date of his release, after carefully considering the Prosecution’s submissions on the sentence and the Defence’s plea in mitigation.

3) Public Prosecutor v Ashwin Kumar Kumaraswamy Sanketh [2022] SGDC 57

The accused went to a public place on Joo Chiat Road and drank four glasses of beer. The accused lost control of the vehicle while completing a turn and crashed into a bus stop on the left side of Tanjong Rhu Road. He climbed to the top of the kerb and crashed with two safety bollards, uprooting one of them. As a result, the accused had driven the automobile without due care and attention. The accused was detained for drunk driving and taken back to the Traffic Police Headquarters for a breath analyzer device (BAD) test. He was charged with two offences under the RTA’s sections 67 and 65. All factors considered, the court determined that a total sentence of two weeks in jail and a three-year ban from holding or acquiring any type of driver’s licence, effective from the day of his release, was reasonable and suitable in the circumstances.

4) Public Prosecutor v Shin Seung Ho [2022] SGDC 33

The accused drove a motor van without due care and attention in an open space car-park by failing to have proper control of his motor van while executing a right turn along the car park’s driveway, causing the front left portion of his motor van to collide onto the front centre portion of the 1st involved party’s parked motorcar before continuing driving around the car-park and failing to have proper control of his motor van while executing another right turn, resulting in the front left portion of his motor van colliding onto the front centre portion of the 2nd involved party’s motorcar. The first complainant watched the entire episode and requested assistance from the police since he felt the accused was intoxicated. The second complainant was dispatched to the accident scene, where he examined the accused and noted that he smelled strongly of alcohol and walked at an unsteady pace. The accused was given a breathalyser test by the second complainant, and the result was ‘Fail.’ The accused was detained on suspicion of driving while being drunk. The accused, a 29-year-old male South Korean national, was charged with two counts of violating the Road Traffic Act. Drink Driving under section 67(1)(b) of the Road Traffic Act, punishable under section 67(1) and read with section 67(2)(a), and Careless Driving under section 65(1)(a) of the Road Traffic Act, punishable under section 65(5)(c) and read with section 65(5)(a) and section 65(6) of the Road Traffic Act. All factors considered, the court determined that a global sentence of two weeks in jail and a 48-month ban on holding or acquiring all types of driver’s licences, effective from the day of his release, was reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances.