MHA to update 'archaic' definition of 'animals' under Road Traffic Act: Sun Xueling

"The current definition of ‘animals’, which is restricted to an exhaustive list of farm animals such as cattle, horses and dogs is archaic and not relevant to our context," said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling. (Getty Creative file photo)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is looking to update the definition of “animals” under the Road Traffic Act, and also specify the obligations of motorists in accidents involving animals.

“The current definition of ‘animals’, which is restricted to an exhaustive list of farm animals such as cattle, horses and dogs is archaic and not relevant to our context. We will remove this definition, and instead will rely on a general definition of the word,” said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling in Parliament on Monday (8 July).

The 39-year-old MP for Pasir-Punggol GRC was speaking during the second reading of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill.

The issue was first discussed in the House in May 2016 when then Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said the authorities would be reviewing the law in response to calls for the definition to be widened.

Motorists’ obligations

Under the proposed amendments, there are two scenarios in which motorists will be obliged to safely stop their vehicles and render assistance for accidents involving animals.

The first is a situation where an animal’s body or carcass poses a safety hazard. In such cases, motorists should take steps to alert other road users to the obstruction, said Sun.

“For example, in road accidents involving wild boars, the carcass is likely to result in some obstruction to vehicles,” she added.

Another scenario covers any accident wherein the animal involved is believed to have an owner. In such cases, motorists “should make attempts to inform the (animal’s) owner or the police, for example, in road accidents involving dogs that are wearing a collar,” said Sun.

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