Our GPC for Transport and MPs question the Govt for safer S’pore roads


THE PAP has long worked alongside Singaporeans to keep the nation’s roads safe — and will keep doing so. 

“We always take into account the data we have, whether it’s traffic incident reports from traffic police, data of incidents …from our LTA [Land Transport Authority] monitoring team as well as even data on road infrastructure which are badly damaged or hit. Which will give us information and measures that we could put in place before any accident happens,” said Senior Minister of State for Transport Amy Khor to Parliament this Tuesday afternoon (May 11). 

 “And of course, feedback from the local community, road users, the public online and offline,” she added. 

SMS Khor was responding to 11 of our MPs, including four from the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) set up to scrutinise the Ministry of Transport. These MPs filed Parliamentary questions in the wake of several multi-vehicle accidents these past months, such as the late-April crash in Tampines.    

Source: MCI / YouTube 

“We receive around 30,000 traffic violation reports every year …which shows many members of the public are already able to access [Singapore Police Force driver feedback] e-services,” said Minister of State for Home Affairs Faishal Ibrahim, who answered the MP questions alongside SMS Khor. “And for those relating to the posting on social media — some of these platforms that we are familiar with — we look at it and we take that seriously to investigate.” 

Singapore’s roads are safer overall too, said MOS Faishal when MP Desmond Choo (Tampines) asked about present-day road conditions. MOS Faishal pointed out that the yearly number of accidents resulting in injuries and fatalities fell about 10 per cent in the last five years; down from 7822 in 2019 to 7075 last year. But he noted that the yearly number of fatal accidents increased from 117 to 131 during the same period, and that an average of 27 per cent of these were speeding-related and 2.4 per cent was from reckless or dangerous driving causing death. 

Measures against past and future accidents 

As such, GPC for Transport Chairperson MP Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), alongside Committee members MP Ang Wei Neng (West Coast GRC), MP Gan Thiam Poh (Ang Mo Kio GRC) and MP Poh Li San (Sembawang GRC)) had questions about having preventive measures against past and future accidents. 

Source: MCI / YouTube 

“I think most of us in this Chamber have primary schools or secondary schools or even junior colleges and polytechnics in your area,” said GPC Chair Saktinadi. “I would want to know if LTA can share whether there could be possibilities of the area of the school zone’s radius to be expanded.”  

“This is something we will continue to monitor and review. I don’t think that there is a fixed one-size-fits-all kind of zone radius. But having said that, it all depends on the local conditions where the school is,” responded SMS Khor. 

She added that Singapore’s roads are designed in accordance with international safety requirements, as was the Tampines junction where the accident occurred, and that the Ministries of Transport and Home Affairs together educate and engage motorists on road safety.   

GPC Chair Saktiandi also asked about shifting driver mindsets towards a culture of road safety in order to complement institutional road safety efforts — if Singapore’s drivers can be educated to manage road rage.   

“Road rage is serious. We not only work with the stakeholder agencies. We also work with the trade associations and the motor trade association and see how we can make things better and how to address it,” said MOS Faishal. 

Road safety is more than laws and regulations

Source: MCI / YouTube, Gagliardi Photography 

Meanwhile, MPs Patrick Tay (Pioneer SMC) and Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) queried the penalties for causing fatal accidents. 

“You can either proceed under the Road Traffic Act as careless driving. Or you proceed under 304A in the Penal Code. So, I see a disparity in some of these. And how do we go about that [to] decide the differential punishment which is meted out,” said MP Tay, referring to how the Code sets two to five years of prison time for causing death by a rash or negligent act.      

“The court system is such that the judges will have different levers to look at. However, from our point of view, when we find there’s an accident, we will look at the evidence and then we will relate the evidence to which part of the Act we want to take on, similar to the case that we had for Tampines,” said MOS Faishal. 

Elsewhere, MOS Faishal also clarified for a Member of the Opposition that these laws will be properly applied. 

“We looked at the facts of the accident; facts of the case. I assure the Member that we will exercise what we are provided for under the law to commensurate with the culpability of the person who caused the accident,” he said. “We want to ensure that we have a fair and just system.” 

And MOS Faishal stressed that road safety is not only about laws. 

“Every one of us has to play a part. TP [Traffic Police] can do this, LTA can do infrastructure and grassroots organisations like those in SMS Sim Ann’s area can do that. But if we don’t play our part, then nothing will change. So, we want every one of us to play a part because that helps to save the lives of our families.”