SINGAPORE - A taxi driver, who caused the death of a motorcyclist while changing lanes along an expressway, was jailed for three weeks and banned from driving for three years on Tuesday (May 24).
Kwek Tiong Hoe, 51, who pleaded guilty, had failed to keep a proper lookout while changing from the fourth to the third lane of Tampines Expressway (TPE). It resulted in the taxi hitting Malaysian Tan Lean Tong, 42, on the third lane at 8.35am on Sept 11 last year.
A court heard that Mr Tan was riding in the second of a five-lane road along TPE towards Changi Airport when he overtook a white lorry which was travelling in the third lane.
He filtered to his left into the third lane and was ahead of the lorry.
At around the same time, Kwek was driving a black Chrysler taxi in the fourth lane and had overtaken the same lorry.
He then began to change lanes into the third lane with the motorcyclist ahead of him.
But he failed to keep a proper lookout for Mr Tan. He continued at a constant speed and entered the third lane, closing the gap with Mr Tan until he hit the motorcycle.
Mr Tan skidded into the second lane and was thrown off the machine. He was taken to hospital unconscious and was pronounced dead at 11.14am.
In mitigation, Kwek's lawyer Chai Ming Kheong said this was an unfortunate incident. He said his client, who has been a taxi driver for about 20 years, did not notice that Mr Tan was also trying to overtake the same white lorry and changing from the second to the third lane.
He said Kwek had not known that his taxi had side-swiped the left side of the Mr Tan's motorcycle until he felt an impact. He immediately stopped the taxi and called the police and ambulance.
Kwek helped the police in the investigation by handing over the in-vehicle recording which was played in court.
Mr Chai said Kwek is the sole breadwinner of the family and has a 17-month-old son. He is deeply remorseful and very affected by the accident.
Kwek could have been jailed for up to two years and fined for causing death by doing a negligent act.