PAP MPs file parliamentary questions concerning road safety and penalties following the fatal accident in Tampines

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

Parliament will debate road safety rules and penalties under the Road Traffic Act at its next sitting. This  follows several multi vehicle accidents this week, including  the deadly Tampines incident which claimed two lives. 

Several Members of Parliament from the People’s Action Party have submitted Parliamentary questions to the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) regarding stricter enforcement to discourage reckless driving, preventive measures to avoid accidents at high-risk junctions, and driver education on road safety. 

Parliament will next sit on May 7.  

Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport and Member of Parliament of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Saktiandi Supaat said in an April 24 Facebook post that residents have expressed concerns about road safety and there are also growing worries about the adequacy of existing penalties for reckless driving. 

A crash involving four cars, a van, and a minibus at the junction of Tampines Avenue 1 and Tampines Avenue 4 on April 22 claimed two lives and injured six others. A 17-year-old Temasek Junior College student and a 57-year-old woman died in the accident, while six people, including a 42-year-old driver who was later arrested, were taken to hospital. 

Later that same day, six people were hospitalised after an accident along the PIE involving six cars and a taxi. Among the injured was a seven-year-old child. 
Mr. Saktiandi inquired about the number of fatal accidents over the past five years as well as the number attributable to reckless driving and speeding. 

He also asked if penalties under the Road Traffic Act would be reviewed and if MHA and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will consider stricter enforcement or legislative changes to increase accountability and discourage dangerous driving.  

“I strongly believe that meaningful changes must be made to minimise such accidents, whether through revisiting and enhancing current mitigating measures or implementing stricter enforcement to deter dangerous behaviour and protect law-abiding motorists and pedestrians alike,” wrote Mr Saktiandi.  

MP for Nee Soon GRC Derrick Goh also called for stiffer penalties for risky driving conduct while MP for Pioneer SMC Patrick Tay asked about the methods the Singapore Police Force uses to enforce traffic laws, particularly against reckless driving. 

PAP MPs call for measures to deter similar accidents at high-risk traffic junctions 

In addition, MPs raised concerns about deterring similar accidents at high-risk traffic junctions. 

MP for Sembawang GRC Poh Li San asked how LTA will improve traffic safety provisions at the junction where the Tampines accident occurred. She also asked about lessons learned that can preemptively apply to similar cross-junctions nationwide to prevent similar tragic accidents in the future. 

Mr Saktiandi asked how LTA can minimise future accident risks through road design and traffic management, and if there are plans to enhance data collection and analysis to address current and future road safety challenges. 

MP for Jurong GRC Dr Tan Wu Meng asked whether LTA uses data analytics to determine which roads and traffic junctions pose a greater risk of vehicle-vehicle collisions and pedestrians hit by vehicles. If so, he asked if the data collection and analysis use artificial intelligence and consider Traffic Police sensing, reports of near-misses and crowdsourced feedback from the public. He also asked what LTA is doing to reduce the risk of pedestrian accidents and pedestrian accident deaths. 

Road safety education will also be discussed at the next sitting. Mr Saktiandi inquired if campaigns and programmes could be intensified to educate drivers about speeding, reckless driving, and to increase their awareness of road safety. Mr Goh proposed a major media campaign to raise public awareness of responsible driving habits along with new measures to reduce fatal road accidents. Mr Tay asked about measures to improve road safety education for both new and experienced drivers. 

Mr Tay also inquired about support systems for families of road accident victims, especially when the victim is a minor. 

PAP MPs have raised concerns about stricter enforcement of speeding 

PAP MPs have previously raised concerns about stricter enforcement of speeding and running red lights.  

Deputy Chairman of GPC for Home Affairs and Law and MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim said in an April 24 Facebook post that he had asked in Parliament last month about tougher enforcement for reckless driving, speeding, and beating red lights.  

He also asked if the Traffic Police will prioritise deploying speed traps or red-light cameras at intersections or areas with many elderly, children, and vulnerable pedestrians around schools, markets, and shopping districts. 

Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugan replied that the Traffic Police intends to further increase fines and demerit points to strengthen deterrence against irresponsible driving and provide more details later this year. 

Ministers and MPs offered condolences to the victims’ families 

Ministers and MPs like Mr Shanmugam, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean and MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Sharael Taha took to social media to offer condolences to the victims’ families.    

Mr Shanmugam said it was heartbreaking that the accident had cut down two lives “just like that”. 

“When we drive – we hold the lives of other road users in our hands,” he added.  

Mr Sharael said he and grassroots volunteers and Qaryah group visited the family of two of the victims and would do their best to provide support for them.   

Driver in fatal Tampines accident charged with four offences  

The car driver involved in the six-vehicle crash in Tampines has been handed four charges. 

Muhammad Syafie Ismail, 42, was charged on April 25 with dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing hurt, dangerous driving, and failing to stop after an accident. 

The offence of dangerous driving carries a jail term of up to a year, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. 

For failing to stop after an accident, an offender can be fined up to $1,000, jailed up to three months, or both.