Motorists get pulled over - for doing good

Caught - showing road courtesy, so hawker Lim Kan Seng received a reward instead of a summons. Traffic Police officers are on the lookout for good drivers - as well as bad ones.
Caught - showing road courtesy, so hawker Lim Kan Seng received a reward instead of a summons. Traffic Police officers are on the lookout for good drivers - as well as bad ones.ST PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN

When Mr Lim Kan Seng's Toyota Previa was pulled over by the Traffic Police along New Upper Changi Road yesterday morning, he panicked a little.

Mr Lim, 50, a hawker, thought he might be in for a summons, but what he received instead were a zebra plush toy and $40 worth of petrol vouchers.

"I thought I had done something wrong... but the police said they saw me giving way to another driver, and wanted to commend me," he said.

"I had just turned left into the main road when another car was trying to cut into my lane from the right, so I let him pass."

Mr Lim was among seven motorists who were pulled over on the roads yesterday for displaying good driving habits, as part of a nine-hour island-wide "Spot the Conscientious Motorists" operation conducted by the police.

Since the programme started in October 2013, 391 motorists have been identified and rewarded.

Motorists get a commendation certificate, in addition to the road safety mascot toy and vouchers.

Besides operations to recognise considerate drivers, officers keep a lookout for good driving habits - such as signalling early and giving way to other road users - during their daily patrols.

Failing to signal is a common offence on Singapore roads: 546 summonses for this were issued in the first six months of last year, the highest in three years.

Another motorist spotted yesterday was taxi driver Toh Teck Hui, 63.

He was turning into a public carpark in Bedok North Street 1, but stopped to give way to two pedestrians and a cyclist.

"The police said I displayed courtesy," he said.

While Mr Lim said being recognised was a good form of encouragement, he admitted that he had become more conscientious after being fined $150 a decade ago for a road offence.

He said: "I was driving too slowly in the extreme-right lane of the expressway. I initially thought there was nothing wrong with that."

adrianl@sph.com.sg