The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill was introduced in Parliament for First Reading today. The Bill seeks to amend the Road Traffic Act (RTA) which is jointly administered by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Transport to:
- Extend the existing Autonomous Vehicles (AV) regulatory sandbox;
- Facilitate the re-imposition of vehicular taxes when the tax exemption no longer applies; and
- Empower Police officers and Authorised Persons to perform security searches on persons in the public transport system.
Extend Regulatory Sandbox for Autonomous Vehicles (AV)
2. The AV regulatory sandbox, established for five years from August 2017 to August 2022 to facilitate the conduct of AV trials and support research and development in the AV industry, will be extended for a further five years to facilitate more trials until August 2027.
Facilitate the re-imposition of vehicle taxes when exemption no longer applies
3. Today, vehicles that provide essential services, such as ambulances, are exempted from vehicular taxes. However, under the Ministry of Health’s new regulatory standards for private emergency ambulances and medical transporters, which will take effect from 1 September 2021, some vehicles may no longer qualify to provide emergency ambulance services and will thus not qualify for the exemption of vehicular taxes. These vehicles will thus be treated as regular vehicles, and will have to pay taxes for which they were previously exempted from.
Empower Police officers and Authorised Persons to Perform Security Searches on person in the Public Transport System
4. Singapore needs to remain vigilant against evolving security threats. Our public transport system serves millions of commuters daily and can be an attractive target for security threats, due to their vulnerability and potential for mass casualties. There is a need to step up our existing security measures to stay vigilant against any potential security attacks.
5. To enhance the safety and security of our public transport system, the proposed amendments to the RTA will empower Police officers and Authorised Persons to carry out security checks. Similar amendments to the Rapid Transit Systems Act will also be made for this reason.
6. The amendments will allow searches to be carried out at designated entrances of bus interchanges, before commuters enter the fare gates at MRT/LRT stations, or within any parts of these transport nodes. When deemed necessary, they can also be carried out on board buses and MRT/LRT trains.