Number of heavy vehicle accidents disturbing: TP chief

The number of fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles fell last year to 34, from 44 in 2014, but cases of non-fatal accidents and traffic violations rose from 795 to 843, Traffic Police (TP) figures show.

These numbers came up at a road safety seminar on heavy vehicles yesterday. It was held at the ComfortDelGro auditorium in Braddell Road, and was attended by 180 owners, as well as safety and operations managers of heavy vehicle fleets.

In his opening address, TP Commander Sam Tee described the statistic as "disturbing". Speaking to media later, he said heavy vehicles are essential to the economy, and the TP has plans to educate drivers to respond to their presence on the roads.

Organised by the TP and Singapore Road Safety Council, the seminar is part of a two-year programme, Use Your RoadSense, that engages road user groups in dialogues to understand their concerns and develop a safer road culture.

Heavy vehicles, numbering about 47,000, make up roughly 5 per cent of the vehicle population in Singapore and their drivers face heavier penalties for traffic offences. In the accidents heavy vehicles were involved in, their drivers were found to be at fault half the time, TP said.

During the seminar, a panel of seven experts from various fields, including policy, operations and workplace safety, made suggestions such as changing company processes, training and educating drivers and investing in technology to reduce heavy vehicle accidents.

Several panellists also agreed on the potential of switching driver remuneration from the current pay-per-trip system to one that considers "total useful distance travelled", thus reducing accidents due to drivers speeding to complete as many trips in a day as possible.

One of the panellists was Mr Daniel Chew, author of logistics book Land Transport: A Definitive Practitioner's Guide.

He told heavy vehicle owners: "Leaders should set a culture to celebrate small wins. Every time your drivers complete a delivery or a day's work safely - they did not violate any traffic rules or they did not get themselves into any traffic accidents - you praise them and you celebrate the safe driving."

Rachel Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Number of heavy vehicle accidents disturbing: TP chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe