Jail for road bully who drove dangerously on PIE

61-year-old gets a week's jail, 2-year driving ban for chasing m-cyclist in peak-hour traffic

A frustrated motorist's attempt to overtake a motorcyclist who was on the rightmost lane of an expressway sparked off a 21/2-minute pursuit involving tailgating, straddling lanes and weaving in and out of evening peak-hour traffic.

Yesterday, the driver, Chia Hyong Gyee, 61, was sentenced to a week's jail for dangerous driving after prosecutors appealed against his initial sentence of the maximum $3,000 fine. His driving ban was doubled to two years.

Allowing the prosecution's appeal, High Court judge See Kee Oon, however, noted that the motorcyclist "was not exactly a model of graciousness on the road".

But this did not excuse Chia's reaction, said Justice See, agreeing with prosecutors that the driver was a "road bully who used his vehicle to give vent to his frustrations".

While no injury was caused, the potential for serious harm was high, he said.

"This was an appalling manifestation of road rage that went beyond rashness or recklessness," he said.

The episode at about 6.10pm on March 15 last year along the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) towards Changi Airport was captured on two cameras mounted on the motorcycle of Mr Aw Seng Poh, 44.

After tailing Mr Aw's bike in the first lane, Chia moved to the second lane and, without signalling, tried to cut into the path of the rider, who swerved to avoid a crash and sounded his horn.

Chia sounded his horn in response and dropped back to the first lane behind the bike. Mr Aw sped up but Chia caught up after swerving in and out of traffic.

Chia again tried to overtake Mr Aw from the left while sounding his horn, but was blocked by a van. He eventually passed Mr Aw, driving very closely to the bike and straddling the first and second lanes.

Chia stopped in the second lane when traffic came to a standstill. When traffic moved off, he stayed put for five seconds to prevent Mr Aw, who had stopped behind his car, from going forward. Mr Aw tried to change lanes but Chia swerved to block his path.

Mr Aw eventually rode off, leaving Chia, who was stuck in heavy traffic, behind. He made a police report the next day.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Francis Ng argued that Chia's "loutish" driving behaviour endangered other road users and was more egregious than the typical road rage punch-up. He noted that the footage showed other vehicles getting out of the way of Chia's "single-minded pursuit".

Chia's lawyer, Mr Daniel Chia, argued that his client had no intention to intimidate the motorcyclist.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2017, with the headline 'Jail for road bully who drove dangerously on PIE'. Print Edition | Subscribe