SINGAPORE - One swerved dangerously to switch lanes along the expressway, another used his mobile phone while driving a lorry, while another beat the traffic light.
These were among the errant motorists that were caught by surprise on Tuesday (Dec 6) afternoon, when they were stopped by stealthy Traffic Police (TP) officers in unmarked cars or "bikers" clad in black jackets and riding matte black motorcycles.
Covert officers from the TP Special Operations Team prowled the roads along the Ayer Rajah Expressway, Jalan Buroh and West Coast Highway on the lookout for traffic offenders, in a bid to quell the rising number of motor accidents. On their radar, in particular, are motorcyclists and heavy vehicle drivers.
"Motorcyclists often suffer serious injuries or even death during accidents as they are not protected by the shell of their vehicles. On the contrary, heavy vehicles have higher propensity to cause severe hurt or fatality whenever they are involved in accidents," said deputy commanding officer of TP's Patrol Unit John Chan.
Latest TP figures show that every two hours, at least one motorcyclist or pillion rider is involved in an accident, hurt or killed.
There were 3,410 such accidents from Jan to Sept this year (2016), up 4.5 per cent from the 3,264 during the same period 2015.
Accidents involving heavy vehicles also rose by in the first half of this year, with 463 cases reported. This was up from the 435 accidents from Jan to Jun in 2015.
When The Straits Times accompanied a two-man team in an unmarked car on Tuesday (Dec 6), four errant motorists were caught within 1½hours. Three were driving heavy vehicle drivers and one was driving a van.
From Jan to Sept this year, covert officers recorded about 4,500 violations - a threefold increase as compared to the same period last year (2015).
The effective enforcement is largely due to its new 900c "stealth bikes" that first hit the roads in May. These bikes can manoeuvre their way around heavy traffic to go after errant motorists, as compared to unmarked cars.