Jul 24, 2013

    Road safety in spotlight after crashes

    TWO recent car crashes along the East Coast Parkway (ECP), which resulted in one fatality, have raised concerns about road safety again.

    The incidents come amid an uptrend in casualties from road accidents involving cars, despite a fall in injuries from road accidents in general in the first five months of the year.

    On Sunday night, a Honda Jazz and a BMW crashed into the road divider in a three-car collision on the ECP at the section before Marina Bay Sands. Four men were taken to hospital.

    On July 13, a 30-year-old businessman died in a three-car accident on the ECP. According to an eyewitness quoted on citizen-journalism website Stomp, the Lotus sports car he was driving skidded near Prince Edward Road. The car was reportedly flung onto the other side of the expressway, in the way of oncoming traffic.

    Based on preliminary data from the Singapore Department of Statistics, there were 12 deaths and 987 people injured between January and May this year from road-traffic accidents involving cars and station wagons.

    These are higher than the seven fatalities and 890 people injured in the same period last year.

    The increase bucks the trend of an overall fall in the number of people injured in road accidents, based on preliminary data.

    Between January and May, 3,471 people were injured, compared to 3,564 in the same period last year. The number of deaths rose slightly to 78 in the first five months, from 75 a year ago.

    Mr Ang Hin Kee, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport, said the accident figures involving car drivers and their passengers were "worrying".

    Mr Ang said various factors warrant deeper study, such as the experience of the drivers in the accidents, what time the accidents occurred, and if there was drink driving involved.

    "It could also be a question of the design of the roads...(such as) if there's a bend, or if (accidents) happened on a descent or ascent to the highway," he added.

    Mr Seng Han Thong, deputy chairman of the GPC for Transport, said to reduce accidents, drivers need to practise good habits, such as not speeding or cutting across lanes abruptly, and giving way to others.

    To step up road safety, more cameras could be installed, together with more signs to remind motorists to drive safely, he said, noting that drivers "behave" in the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway tunnel. This could be because drivers are aware of the speed cameras there, he explained.

    Freelance motoring journalist Tony Tan said drivers need to take extra care at certain road stretches, such as the part of the ECP near Prince Edward Road, heading towards Changi Airport.

    He said drivers might lose control if they do not position their cars well, because the road undulates.

    Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said drivers need to be on the lookout for road hazards and be "prepared to take evasive action".

    To avoid collisions, they should "make allowances for other road users to correct their mistakes", he added.