Driving against traffic: Police studying preventive measures

A screenshot from a video showing a driver apparently going against traffic along the AYE towards Tuas on Jan 5. He was arrested and is under investigation for drink driving.
A screenshot from a video showing a driver apparently going against traffic along the AYE towards Tuas on Jan 5. He was arrested and is under investigation for drink driving.PHOTO: ROADS.SG/FACEBOOK

More recent cases of people driving against traffic are being investigated, but most of these incidents were unintentional, the Traffic Police said yesterday.

They will study how to deploy technology to detect a car that has gone against traffic flow, and are working with partners such as the Land Transport Authority to consider how to make road markings and signs more visible in areas where incidents have taken place, they added.

This is to reduce the risk of drivers turning into the wrong lane and going against the flow of traffic.

Including previously unreported cases, the police are investigating seven incidents of motorists driving against traffic between Dec 28 and Jan 7.

"Swift and stern action" will be taken in cases where the action was deliberate, said the police.

There were 118 cases of reckless or dangerous driving in the first nine months of last year, a drop from 189 in the same period the year before, Traffic Police commander Sam Tee said yesterday.

A man has been charged with culpable homicide for a fatal crash on Dec 19, while a 30-year-old has been arrested for dangerous driving. He was believed to have gone against traffic on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) in a red sports car at around 1.25am on Jan 5, and was arrested the next day. He is also under investigation for drink driving.

In another incident on Jan 7, the driver of a white Subaru went across double white lines on Orchid Club Road - a traffic offence - going against traffic flow before making a right turn.

 
 
 

Most of the recent incidents, however, were found to be unintended, Superintendent Lionel Bok, head of the Traffic Police's investigation branch, told the media yesterday. "The driver either misjudged the turn or was unfamiliar with the roads."

For example, on Jan 5, the 42-year-old driver of a white Mercedes-Benz intruded into the wrong turning lane on Cavanagh Road, going against traffic, as the motorist did not know the area well. And on Dec 28, an 85-year-old man driving a black Mercedes-Benz turned into the wrong lane, going against traffic, on Bedok North Street 1.

There were 118 cases of reckless or dangerous driving in the first nine months of last year, a drop from 189 in the same period the year before, Traffic Police commander Sam Tee said yesterday. He stressed that driving at high speed against traffic flow on an expressway "is not a common occurrence".

On why the recent cases were shared online, he said: "I think there was probably a trigger."

"The AYE tragic case does remind people, and encourage people, to send (evidence) to us," he added, referring to the fatal crash involving six vehicles on Dec 19.

He said motorists should be "extra vigilant at junctions".

Drivers going in the wrong direction should turn on their hazard lights and try to rectify the situation, while other road users should take "evasive action" and alert the police.

Under the Road Traffic Act, motorists convicted of dangerous driving may be fined up to $3,000 and jailed for up to a year. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $5,000 and jailed for up to two years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2017, with the headline 'Driving against traffic: Police studying preventive measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe