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The most expensive traffic fines in Singapore you must avoid

Getting a traffic summon (or “saman”) is almost a rite of passage for all new drivers in Singapore. When you first pass your TP and obtain your driver’s licence, it’s common to be unfamiliar with the traffic rules at first, and receive at least a few tickets for parking at an illegal spot or stopping your vehicle at a “no waiting” area. But let’s leave these “practical lessons”, if any, at the innocent $70 fines.

For more serious offences—usually those that involve more hazardous and irresponsible behaviour—the penalties are correspondingly more severe. From drink driving to evading ERP tolls, here are five expensive traffic offences in Singapore to avoid—for your safety too, of course!

Contents:

Most expensive traffic fines in Singapore to avoid

Serious traffic offencePenalties
Not wearing seat beltsUp to $2,000 fine and jail time
Unauthorised parking at HDB / LTA reserved or handicap lotsUp to $200 fine
Displaying altered coupons (HDB/LTA)Up to $600 and court action
Evasion of ERP tollsUp to $160 and 4 demerit points
Drink driving or reckless, dangerous drivingUp to $10,000 fine, jail time and driving ban

Not wearing seat belts – up to $2,000 fine + jail time

According to the Road Traffic Act, by law, everyone in the car must be belted up. If caught flouting the rule, you face a $120 fine (plus 3 demerit points if you’re the driver). For repeat offenders who are charged in court, the penalty can go up to $2,000 or six months imprisonment!

This includes in your own motor car, private hire rides (like Grab), taxis and more. The two exemptions are if you are under 1.35m tall or cannot do so due to medical reasons. For those who are below 1.35m in height, you will need to use an approved child restraint.

Unauthorised parking at HDB / LTA reserved or handicap lots – up to $200 fine

Most illegal parking penalties are quite lenient ($70), probably because many times, the driver just didn’t know any better. However, one heavily penalised parking offence is parking in a reserved or handicapped parking lot.

Do it once and the authorities will “give chance” – $70. Try your luck again and you’ll be slapped with a $200 ticket. This is because doing so causes great inconvenience to those who genuinely need the convenient parking space. So yes, don’t be a jerk.

Displaying altered coupons (HDB/LTA) – up to $600 + court action

As you may have noticed by now, traffic police are actually quite reasonable. You even get the benefit of doubt: If it’s an offence you could have made by mistake, you’re likely to get away with a warning or at most, a smaller fine. But if your offence involves blatant fraud or dishonesty, then it’s a different matter.

If you are caught deliberately tampering with your displayed parking coupons, you will get fined $80 (first time) / up to $1,000 plus court action (repeat offences). Remember that the next time you think of folding and “recycling” your parking coupons.

Evasion of ERP tolls – up to $160 + 4 demerit points

If you recently drove through an ERP gantry and either your IU didn’t register or you had insufficient funds in your cashcard – don’t panic. For that, you’re likely to just receive a notification letter asking you to pay for the ERP charge manually. If you ignore it and fail to make payment within two weeks, add a $10 administrative fee on top. It’s never pleasant to get fined, but in comparison to the rest of the offences, this is small money.

The “real” offence is if you intentionally evade ERP tolls at Tuas and Woodlands Checkpoints. According to an official statement released in 2016, LTA estimates that in that year, they lost about 8% of their total tolls and fees revenue.

As such, they increased the penalty to a $50 fine for first-timers, and $100 for repeat offenders. If you don’t pay this “composition sum”, then it’s considered evasion, and you will get a higher fine of up to $1,000 or three month’s jail.

Drink driving or reckless, dangerous driving – up to $10,000 fine

We’ve saved the “best” for the last: if you’re caught drink driving or driving recklessly and/or dangerously, you can be charged in court and face up to $10,000 fine or 8 years jail. You may also get banned from driving for two years.

If your “dangerous” driving offence is not too serious, it may be considered “driving without due care or reasonable consideration”, in which case the maximum fine is lower (but still quite high: up to $1,000 fine, up to 3 years jail, 2-year driving ban).

Drink (and well, drug) driving is the most serious offence. According to the Road Traffic Act, the penalty will be between $2,000 and $10,000, and you may be jailed for up to 12 months. For second and subsequent offenders, the penalty goes up to $5,000 to $20,000 and up to 2 years in jail. The $30 valet fee is looking a lot cheaper now, huh?

How to check if you got fined

If you get fined, chances are, you’ll know. You’ll either be greeted with a white slip on your windscreen, or receive a letter in your mailbox in due course. If for some reason, you are convinced you broke the law and didn’t get notified of the penalties, you can double check online (Singapore Police Force for traffic police fines, and One Motoring for LTA fines).

How to pay traffic fines

You’ve verified and yes, you’ve made an offence. Now what?

Well, you can either 1) learn your lesson and pay the fine, or 2) learn your lesson but appeal for the authorities to “pang chance” anyway.

If you’re an honest, law-abiding citizen who opts for #1, then there are several ways to pay your traffic fine. You can either pay your traffic fine online via the LTA-One Motoring portal or via internet banking, or head down to an AXS, SAM or iNET kiosk.

Hey, they don’t call Singapore “a fine city” for nothing – the government is very efficient at collecting money.

How to appeal for parking / traffic fines

Most of us fall into #2, and would want to try our luck with an appeal before handing over the fine money. Generally, if you’re a first-time offender and the offence is not too severe, you may get away with a warning upon appeal.

You can log into the online fine portals and submit an appeal, indicating your reasons (ahem, excuses) for the offence. If the authorities accept your story, then you will not have to pay the fine.

That said, the above-mentioned offences are way more serious, and may not even be possible to appeal for (e.g. drink driving). So instead of thinking of ways to “siam” a fine, we say you’re better off not committing them in the first place.

Keep these in mind, and drive safe!

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