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License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:31 pm

You are welcome.

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Re: RE: Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby ecureilx » Sun, 18 Sep 2016 11:47 pm

Did that Address the query or escalate? ;)

Any offence by an unlicensed driver leads to jail, like Traffic light, zig zag line ... failing to give way, bus lane...

Unless the person can prove he has no residency in Singapore. But owns the car. In which case it becomes A heavy fine.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 8:55 am

To answer in detail why expats are offhand:

1. Lack of visible enforcement leads them to believe there is no or little enforcement. Expats from the USA and Australia IME expect to see police on the road. When they don't see many they assume that means no enforcement. There is actually a lot of enforcement done with CCTV - Car registrations are continually scanned by mobile and stationary cameras and the SPF are fairly effective at spotting recalcitrant offenders or people driving who shouldn't be as a result.
2. Lack of visible enforcement also leads people to making an incorrect correlation to penalties and assume they won't be penalized or the penalties are light to moderate. Actually IME traffic fines and penalties for DUI, accidents, driving without a valid licence and red light / speeding offences are very heavy in Singapore compared to the west. One simply example; in Singapore if you 'lose your licence' (i.e. have it suspended as it would be in the west) you have to resit the entire test once the suspension period is finished - you no longer have a license at all! If you're an expat and you've converted your licence you cannot do another conversion; the systems resets and you have to start all over again just like an 18 yo Singaporean. Many people I know who have lost their licence here (both expat and local) actually give up driving - the difficulty of getting a new licence is quite high.
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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby taxico » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 5:36 pm

expat6874 wrote:Hello - So I'm in the process of converting my US license to Singaporean. Does anyone know what the penalty is for not obtaining a Sing license conversion if you are for whatever reason to be found driving without one? My travel schedule (and frankly putting it off) has led me to be past the 12 month mark. While I'm going to go through the process, I'm a bit concerned about the interim and certainly don't want to break any laws by driving. I've spoken to several expats who seem ambiguous to the whole conversion thing and brush it off. I however, do not feel that way as I'm a visitor in this country and want to do what's right.


you will be told you are not allowed to drive in singapore by the officer that has pulled you over.

the vehicle will be towed as its insurance (if any) will not cover your foreign DL.

the vehicle owner (if it's not you) will be either warned (not often) or fined (very often) by SPF after a lengthy investigation (with threats of seizing the vehicle and lengthy interviews).

the vehicle owner's SDL is also at risk of being disqualified.

you will eventually be disqualified from holding an SDL, and unable convert your foreign DL in future. it's a minimum of 1 year's disqualification/ban. my friend was also fined... i think 1.5k or 2.5k (i cannot remember).

so convert before you drive... or before you get caught.

you should not be driving in singapore without valid insurance cover...

if you cause hurt to others, the penalties are more severe.
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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby x9200 » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 8:04 pm

PNGMK wrote:To answer in detail why expats are offhand:

1. Lack of visible enforcement leads them to believe there is no or little enforcement. Expats from the USA and Australia IME expect to see police on the road. When they don't see many they assume that means no enforcement. There is actually a lot of enforcement done with CCTV - Car registrations are continually scanned by mobile and stationary cameras and the SPF are fairly effective at spotting recalcitrant offenders or people driving who shouldn't be as a result.
2. Lack of visible enforcement also leads people to making an incorrect correlation to penalties and assume they won't be penalized or the penalties are light to moderate.

I think it is more about the insurance. SPF including TP is very reasonable and also very pragmatic, but driving without a de facto valid insurance (DUI or no valid licence being examples of it) may be a serious problem if something bad happens. Medical and car repair bills are high and I bet there would be a nice fraction of foreigners willing to flee the country if they had to cover the bills from their own pockets. Also many Singaporeans may not be wealthy enough to get it covered.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby expat6874 » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 9:05 pm

All good information, appreciate the comments.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby PNGMK » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 9:35 pm

No problem. As a disclaimer I was arrested at an accident two decades for not having the correct class of license (I was driving a G plate vehicle without a SDL). I had not been in Singapore very long fortunately. The kind officer Sgt RXXXX really gave me a free pass and allowed me to convert my ADL on the spot in the old Maxwell Road police HQ before investigating the accident (which, fortunately was not my fault).
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Re: RE: Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby ecureilx » Mon, 19 Sep 2016 10:31 pm

PNGMK wrote:The kind officer Sgt RXXXX really gave me a free pass and allowed me to convert my ADL on the spot in the old Maxwell Road police HQ before investigating the accident (which, fortunately was not my fault).


Things were much easier at Maxwell Road TP, got my conversion there as well.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby GSM8 » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 9:46 am

I converted a valid US driver license to SDL 2 years ago taking just the BTT - its quite straightforward. Scheduling BTT can be an issue, but designated test centers do have late evening and weekend slots available. However in the event (and I know it isn't in OP's case) the US driver license is expired it will have to be renewed before it can be converted to SDL - and depending on the US state, it can be be tricky to renew without a current physical address in that state,

I used my US license to rent a car in Malaysia a couple of times during my first year in Singapore, but never owned a car or drove in Singapore. I did inquire with a Singaporean rental car company once and they said no problem as long as I took their full coverage insurance (which was prohibitive).

I recall being told that one is allowed to drive for 12 months before converting a foreign license - however, other posters in this thread have written that one needs to convert right away. Curious if anyone can clarify this.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:10 am

From the Traffic Police site:

Foreigners

A foreigner above 18 years of age and holding valid foreign licence may drive in Singapore for a period of not more than 12 months. A Singapore driving licence is required after 12 months. Those on short term social visit may drive with their foreign licence. For licence not written in English language, an International Driving Permit or an official translation in English language is required.

Please note that Work Permit holder is not allowed to drive in the course of work on public roads unless the occupation stated in the Work Permit shows he is employed as a driver.


http://www.police.gov.sg/resources/traf ... -a-license

That does NOT mean after 12 months you can schedule your DL Exam. It means by 12 month you need to have converted. It's easily found on the Police Website so there is absolutely no excuse.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby x9200 » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 10:26 am

GSM8 wrote:I recall being told that one is allowed to drive for 12 months before converting a foreign license - however, other posters in this thread have written that one needs to convert right away. Curious if anyone can clarify this.

You are allowed to drive up to 12 month after you become a resident of Singapore (you got your EP etc. - note, different rules apply for PRs). On top of this, all the official sources say (or used to say) this is also the period you are given to get your DL converted. If you didn't within the said 12 months you should enrol to the respective courses and pass all relevant/required tests as you would never had the DL before. Fortunately, this, from multiple anecdotal and less anecdotal evidence seems not that strictly observed so even crossing the 12 month mark you may still be able to convert the DL after passing the BBT.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby bgd » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 4:42 pm

I've known plenty who have converted well after the 12 month residency, one after 14 years.

None were drivers until they converted.

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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby PNGMK » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 5:33 pm

For the above it is highly dependent on the type of residency you hold and you own nationality. You're not going for to be able to convert an Indian licence after 14 years of PR or even a year of EP I suspect.
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Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby expat6874 » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 5:37 pm

To get back on track to the original post, my question was specific to penalties one might incur if you do not convert before the 12 month mark and you're for whatever reason contacted by traffic police (pulled over, accident, etc..). My question was sparked by other expats and their "offhand" attitude about not getting it done at all!

GSM8 and x9200 - you're correct in your observations and experience. When I went to the driving test centre to schedule my BTT not one single person I interacted with had a single concern with me converting my license. I am at the 14th month mark and they were clearly aware of this. I didn't even need to provide an explanation. Fortunately, Singaporean traffic police are understanding.

PNGMK - Glad things worked out for you after that accident! I'm guessing you were a bit concerned at the time! I have to ask because I have always wondered (and, I am a former LEO from the US) were you placed in cuffs and into the back of a car? ;)

So, I'll take my BTT test just like everyone else and recieve my conversion.

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Re: RE: Re: License Conversion - Penalties for Allowing to lapse

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 20 Sep 2016 6:47 pm

expat6874 wrote:PNGMK - Glad things worked out for you after that accident! I'm guessing you were a bit concerned at the time! I have to ask because I have always wondered (and, I am a former LEO from the US) were you placed in cuffs and into the back of a car? ;) .


Seeing people getting hand cuffed is rare in Singapore though the threat gets dropped sometimes..

Like in a drunk driving check.

"Sir, if you are found to be drunk above the limit, we will arrest you and get your car towed away... "

I have seen the rarest shop lifters, street brawlers and sometimes, bar bouncers cuffed.

There was an expat in this forum who said the cops don't leave the cool air con of the car, though the reality is opposite.

PS, singapore enforces the "illegal assembly law" pretty often, to ensure there's no big gang fights !



PNGMK wrote:You're not going for to be able to convert an Indian licence after 14 years of PR or even a year of EP I suspect.


It used to be easy to convert Indian licenses for EP/PR, though no more. I know a guy who was asked to take Basic Theory AND Driving test!


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