Jail, driving ban for cabby who dozed off and hit cyclist

A taxi driver was so tired after driving for about 13 hours with little rest that he dozed off and slammed into a cyclist on the opposite side of the road, killing him on the spot.

Mohammad Adzhar Ahmad's taxi cut to the right, to the other side of the continuous white dividing line on Mandai Road, near the Nee Soon Flyover, and into the path of cyclist Benjamin Paul Lawrence.

The 32-year-old Australian cyclist crashed into the taxi's windscreen, and its front right pillar cut his chest, resulting in an extensive, gaping gash from his abdomen to the right side of his chest. He died on the spot from multiple injuries.

Yesterday, Adzhar, 39, was jailed for three months and banned from driving for seven years after admitting to causing death by a rash act.

Adzhar was driving from 2pm to 9pm on July 13 last year. He took a break for an hour, then continued until 1.25am, when he pulled over at a bus stop for about an hour's nap.

Mohammad Adzhar Ahmad's cab veered onto the opposite side of a road and hit a cyclist, killing him.
Mohammad Adzhar Ahmad's cab veered onto the opposite side of a road and hit a cyclist, killing him. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

When he woke up, he continued driving along Mandai Road, despite still feeling tired.

He wanted to push on and head to a petrol kiosk to wash up.

After passing Upper Seletar Reservoir, somewhere near the last bus stop before Nee Soon Flyover, he fell asleep momentarily, and his taxi rammed into Mr Lawrence.

Adzhar's lawyer Amarick Gill said his client, a father of three children, whose ages range from eight months to nine years, had been driving a taxi for four years without any incident.

"He is very much depressed over the entire incident and sends his deepest condolences to the family of the late Mr Benjamin Paul Lawrence," he said.

The maximum punishment for the offence is five years' jail and a fine.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Jail, driving ban for cabby who dozed off and hit cyclist'. Print Edition | Subscribe