Speeding in a vehicle is highly dangerous – sticking to the limits is the safe and morally responsible thing to do. It will also help you to avoid prosecution, keep your record clean, and save money. Sadly, speeding remains a common offence in Singapore. Anyone can fall foul of speeding laws, so make sure you know the law to avoid speeding offences, and improve your road safety.
Speeding belongs to a category of offence known as ‘strict liability’ – this means that as long as you are caught driving the vehicle over the speed limit, you will have committed the offence of speeding even if you didn’t intend to, or didn’t know what the limit was.
You will get demerit points added to your driving license if you are prosecuted for speeding in Singapore. There’s the possibility of having to pay a fine or appear in court, and for more serious crimes (or if the offence wasn’t your first) then you could lose your license.
However, in some situations you may be dealt with more leniently, depending on the circumstances. You may be charged with a lesser offence – for example, you may only be charged with speeding, rather than the additional offence of dangerous driving.
The Singapore Road Traffic Act governs road traffic offences. Section 63 applies to speeding, and states that it’s an offence for someone to drive a motor vehicle on a road at a speed above that road’s specified limit.
The speed limit depends on the type of road, the likely road users, and the area it is in (e.g. is it near a school or in a busy residential area?). Generally, speed limits are set between 30 km/h and 70 km/h.
Singapore Speed Limits
Speed limits on Singapore’s roads are set out in section 2 of the Road Traffic (Restriction of Speed on Roads) Notification. Limits for specific types of roads are laid out in schedules 1 to 6.
For instance, on some stretches of the West Coast Highway the limit is 30km/h, whereas for sections of the Admiralty Road it is 60km/h. It is 90km/h on sections of the Ayer Rajah Expressway. For expressways and tunnels you can expect limits of between 80km/h and 90km/h.
If the road is near a school, all motor vehicles should travel no more than 40km/h during school hours. This reduced limit is shown on electronic warning signs near the school which say, ‘school zone, 40km/h in effect when lights flash’.
In a silver zone (a specially designed area where elderly pedestrians are likely to be crossing the road) the limit is 30 or 40km/h.
Where you see no speed limits or warning signs, the limit is 50km/h.
Further speed limit restrictions
Different speed limits apply for different types and weights of vehicle. According to the Land Transport Authority, all cars, buses, coaches, light commercial vehicles (maximum of 15 passengers or 3.5 tonnes in weight) and motorbikes should travel at a maximum of 50km/h on normal roads.
The limit is 60km/h on expressways for buses and coaches, and 60-70km/h for light commercial vehicles. If you are driving a car or a motorbike on an expressway, you can drive up to 70 to 90km/h.
Tunnels have their own speed limits; for cars and motorbikes it is usually between 50 and 80km/h. For light commercial vehicles it is 50–70km/h, and for buses and coaches it is just 50-60km/h.
The fines given for exceeding the speed limit will vary, according to whether you are driving a heavy or light vehicle.
If you are caught speeding, you will face one or more of the following penalties:
- Demerit points on your record
- Losing your license or having it suspended
Fines, known as composition fines, are where you have to pay money to avoid being prosecuted in court. The size of the fine depends on how fast you were going, and in what vehicle.
You can pay fines at any AXS machine.
It will be treated as a minor traffic offence if you only exceeded the limit by 40km/h or less. A composition fine will be imposed, with no visit to court necessary. It will say on your ticket notice ‘offer of composition’. You should pay the fine to avoid prosecution in court.
For light vehicles, composition fines range from $150 to $300, and for heavy vehicles the range is $200 to $400, depending on the severity of the speeding offence.
If you speed, then you may be issued with demerit points under the Driver Improvement Points System (DIPS). How fast you drove dictates the number of points. If you have committed a speeding offence, you’ll be notified of the number of points you’ll get and your demerit status. The points are awarded as follows:
- 1-20km/h over limit: 4 points
- 21-30km/h over limit: 6 points
- 31-40km/h over limit: 8 points
- 41-50km/h over limit: 12 points
- 51-60km/h over limit: 18 points
- More than 60km/h over the limit: 24 points.
These points can be removed from your record.
Removing demerit points from your record
Points can be removed if no more have been accumulated within 12 months of the last offence.
If you sign up for a Safe Driving Course (SDC) then you can also have 4 demerit points removed from your record upon successful completion of the course.
To qualify for the SDC you must:
- Hold a valid driving license,
- Not have an existing suspension record, though you may have between 8 and 23 points,
- Only have 4 to 11 points if you have an existing suspension record.
You can only sign up for 2 SDCs in any 10-year period.
You can’t complete an SDC if you’ve already done one in the past year.
You will not qualify for an SDC if you’re a probationary driver, or liable to have your license suspended, or you have been disqualified by the court.
As well as demerit points, you must pay a fine, or face prosecution, depending on how much you were exceeding the limit by.
Suspension of revocation of a driving license
The Deputy Commissioner of Police has the power to suspend or seize someone’s license under section 45 of the RTA, if they think it’s not in the public interest for that person to have a license, or they aren’t competent to drive a vehicle. The points system was created in order to identify these kinds of drivers. Your status and previous record dictates whether you will be liable to have your license suspended or revoked.
New drivers or those on probation
Probationary drivers, or those who haven’t had their license for one year yet, will have it revoked if they get more than 13 points in a year. The license is then invalid, and the driver must apply to get it back and retake both their theory and practical tests.
Prosecution for serious offences
It is a serious offence to drive more than 40km/h over the speed limit. Drivers who do this will not have the option to pay fines – they must instead appear in court.
People who repeatedly drive this far over the speed limit may receive three times the punishment that the court would have imposed for a first-time offender, up to maximum of 10 years in prison.
A driver who gets 24 or more points within 24 months, and hasn’t been suspended before, will face a first suspension of 12 weeks.
If the driver has a previous suspension record, they will face further suspension if they get 12 or more points in 12 consecutive months.
How long the suspension is for will depend on how many previous suspensions the driver has had:
- 24 weeks if this is their 2nd suspension
- 1 year if this is their 3rd suspension
- 2 years if this is their 4th suspension
- 3 years if they’ve had 5 or more suspensions.
The license card itself must be handed to police during the suspension. For 1st or 2nd suspensions, the driver will get the card back at the end of the suspension. But for those drivers being suspended for the 3rd time or more, they will not get their license back. They must take all their tests again in order to resume driving with a license.
Reducing the suspension period
For drivers on their 1st or 2nd suspension, a successfully completed DIPS training course can reduce their suspension period.
The balance period of first suspensions after retraining is 4 weeks. For 2nd suspensions, there is a 12-week balance period following retraining. In effect, the period of suspension can be reduced by no more than 8 weeks for a 1st suspension, and 12 weeks for a 2nd suspension, depending on when the retraining course is completed.
How will a speeding offence affect your future?
Speeding offences aren’t registered under the Registration of Criminals Act, so you won’t get a criminal record because of them. However, if you’re convicted of death by dangerous or reckless driving whilst speeding, then that will appear on your criminal record. It can only be removed by completing 5 years of crime-free behaviour.
Demerit points are not permanent and if you drive with no convictions for one year, they are removed from your record.
As ordinary speeding offences aren’t put on your criminal record, you don’t need to tell your prospective employer of the offence when applying for jobs. But, if it was a serious offence which meant you were convicted in court, then you will have to declare that.
Remember that speeding is a serious and potentially life-threatening offence. You can seriously impact your daily life and future opportunities if you accumulate too many points, or lose your licence.