Taxi driver fined $7k and banned for three years for causing death of pedestrian

Tan Hian Kwee, a taxi driver, caused the death of an elderly pedestrian by negligence. He was fined $7,000 and banned from driving for three years on Thursday (Dec 8).
Tan Hian Kwee, a taxi driver, caused the death of an elderly pedestrian by negligence. He was fined $7,000 and banned from driving for three years on Thursday (Dec 8).ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver whose negligence caused the death of an elderly pedestrian was fined $7,000 and banned from driving for three years on Thursday.

Tan Hian Kwee, 54, admitted failing to keep a proper lookout while travelling on the extreme right lane of Hougang Avenue 10, and hitting Madam Goh Lee Khen alias Goh Lay Keng, 82, on Nov 18, 2015.

She died from pneumonia following multiple injuries about three weeks later.

The court heard in mitigation that Tan visited Madam Goh in hospital almost every day during lunch to show his concern.

His lawyer Patrick Chow said his client is remorseful, is a "responsible and honourable'' person, and had been driving for almost 20 years with hardly any accident.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Houston Johannus said Tan was driving within the 50kmh speed limit at all times on the right of the dual carriageway that evening.

Tan took a momentary look at the taxi's rear view mirror. At this point, Madam Goh, who was wearing dark clothing, stepped off the centre divider and crossed the road at a slow walking pace about three car lengths in front of the taxi.

Tan failed to keep a proper lookout for Madam Goh and did not slow down further as he approached her.

The DPP said Madam Goh had failed to check whether there was oncoming traffic and was looking straight ahead as she crossed the road.

When Tan looked to the front again and saw Madam Goh, he jammed on his brakes but could not stop in time. Madam Goh was hit and was flung about 1m onto the road.

Tan called the police. Madam Goh was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where she died on Dec 9.

Calling for a fine of $7,000 to $8,000 to be imposed plus disqualification, DPP Johannus pointed out that in this case, there was some element of contributory negligence on the part of Madam Goh.

Tan could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing death through a negligent act.