Driving Without A Licence In Singapore: Offences And Penalties

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Blog

In Singapore, adherence to stringent driving regulations is paramount to ensuring the safety of drivers and pedestrians. At the core of these regulations lies the imperative rule of possessing a valid driving licence.

More than just an ID, a valid licence represents a driver’s competency and legality to operate a motor vehicle within the city’s boundaries. That is why it will be a huge violation if you are found driving without a licence in Singapore. Learn what the law says about driving without a valid licence, the possible punishments, and special cases.


What The Law Says About Driving Without A Licence In Singapore

The Road Traffic Act is central to the legal framework that governs driving in Singapore. Specifically, section 35 of the Road Traffic Act stipulates that no individual shall drive a motor vehicle on a road without a valid driving licence. This provision underscores the necessity of having a legitimate driver’s licence before taking the wheel.

Driving without a valid driving licence is an act of careless driving and a grave violation of the established laws.

Consequences Of Driving Without A Valid Licence

If one is caught driving without a valid licence, the immediate repercussions can be swift and severe. Upon apprehension, a traffic police officer can seize the motor vehicle and take the offender into custody for further questioning.

The traffic offences associated with driving without a valid driver’s licence are no small matter. Offenders can expect up to 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the offence, especially if coupled with other acts of careless driving or involvement in accidents, the convicted individual might find themselves behind bars.


Implications For Traffic Accidents

Driving a motor vehicle in Singapore without a valid driving licence isn’t just a minor oversight; it carries significant consequences, particularly if you’re involved in an accident.

Liabilities When Unlicensed Drivers Are In Accidents

Being caught for careless driving is one matter, but, the repercussions increase exponentially if you’re also driving without a valid ID. If a police officer attending the scene of a traffic accident discovers that one of the drivers does not possess a driver’s licence, this can lead to severe penalties.

Furthermore, driving without a licence is considered a traffic offence, which means that even if the accident was not the fault of the unlicensed driver, they can still be prosecuted for their traffic offence. The traffic police take such offences seriously, and the legal liabilities extend beyond simple fines.

Insurance Coverage Claims Might Be Affected

Insurance companies in Singapore may outright refuse insurance coverage claims made by or against a driver who was driving without a licence at the time of the accident.

This means that the unlicensed driver might have to bear the full financial brunt of the accident. The implications of such a scenario can be financially crippling.

Repeat Offenders

It’s worth noting that for a second or subsequent conviction, i.e., those who habitually drive without a driver’s licence, face even steeper penalties. The traffic police maintain records, and those who commit multiple traffic offences risk permanent disqualification from obtaining a driving licence in the future.

According to the Singapore Police, a repeat offender will face up to 6 years imprisonment and/or fine of up to $20,000, and vehicle forfeited.

Special Cases: International Licences And Conversions

Singapore recognises that we live in a globalised world and, as such, has provisions in place for drivers holding international licences.

Validity Of International Licences In Singapore

If you hold an international driving licence, you can drive in Singapore for up to 12 months from your arrival. However, this is valid only for the class of motor vehicle that you’re qualified to drive as per your licence.

Process And Requirements For Converting Foreign Licences

After 12 months, if you wish to continue driving in Singapore, you must convert your foreign licence to a local one. You’ll need to pass the Basic Theory Test (BTT) to do this. Once passed, you can then apply to the traffic police to have your foreign licence converted.

It’s essential to understand the nuances and requirements of this conversion process to ensure that you remain compliant with local regulations and aren’t inadvertently driving without a licence.


Conclusion On Driving Without A Licence In Singapore

The significance of adhering to driving regulations in Singapore cannot be overstated. Not only does it ensure the safety of all road users, but it also protects you from legal and financial complications. It’s a simple act of responsibility that profoundly impacts the broader community.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re uncertain about the validity of your driving licence, you are a repeat offender, or facing arrest related to traffic offences, it’s strongly advised to consult with an experienced criminal and defence lawyer: TheSingapore Lawyer.

We can offer guidance, support, and ensure that your rights are upheld. Always remember that driving responsibly is a hallmark of a caring and considerate community member.

Schedule your free 30-minute consultation with us today!


Frequently Asked Questions About Driving Without A Licence In Singapore

What Is The Minimum Age To Obtain A Driving Licence In Singapore?

The minimum age to obtain a Class 3/3A driving licence in Singapore is 18 years.

Is There A Grace Period For Renewing An Expired Driving Licence In Singapore?

No, there isn’t a grace period; once a driving licence expires, it’s illegal to drive until it’s renewed.

Are There Educational Courses Available For Those Caught Driving Without A Licence?

Yes, Traffic Police might require offenders to attend and pass the Remedial Driving Training course.

Can Tourists Drive In Singapore Using Their Home Country’s Driving Licence?

Yes, tourists can drive using their foreign licence for up to 12 months, but it must be in English or accompanied by an official English translation.

What Are The Penalties For Driving A Commercial Vehicle Without The Appropriate Licence?

Driving a commercial vehicle without the proper licence can lead to heavier fines, longer jail terms, and potential disqualification from obtaining a commercial licence in the future.

If My Licence Is Suspended, Can I Apply For A New One?

No, during a suspension period, you cannot apply for a new licence. You must wait until the suspension is lifted.

About the author

About the author

Jonathan Wong

Jonathan is the Founder and Managing Director of Tembusu Law. He is also the founder of LawGuide Singapore, a prominent legaltech startup which successfully created and launched Singapore’s first legal chatbot in 2017.