The Straits Times
Published on Feb 12, 2013

Implement a 'give way to pedestrians' policy


I APPLAUD and support the efforts of the Traffic Police to beef up road safety ("Traffic Police stepping up patrols as road offences increase"; Feb 2).

This is timely as tough enforcement is the key to instilling safety consciousness on the road and nabbing errant and irresponsible drivers and motorists who continue to flout traffic rules.

The plans of the authority to hire more auxiliary officers and upgrade enforcement cameras are steps in the right direction.

Reckless speeding by motorists and motorcyclists contribute to a high percentage of accidents on roads.

There is a common problem on Singapore roads whereby pedestrians do not have the right of way to cross, even at designated traffic junctions and pedestrian crossings.

Even if the traffic lights are in the favour of pedestrians, some impatient drivers would not stop their vehicles and just simply dash past even if pedestrians are in the middle of crossing the road.

Policymakers should consider advocating a "give way to pedestrians" policy, as pedestrians are more likely to be the vulnerable ones on roads.

In some developed foreign countries, all motorists are expected and obliged to give way to pedestrians and cyclists on major and minor road crossings.

We hardly find this in practice in Singapore.

Under the current Driver Improvement Points System, a driver is allowed to accumulate 24 demerit points within 24 months before he becomes liable for suspension.

The Traffic Police should consider if the suspension of licence period for errant motorists could be extended; for instance, a six-month suspension instead of the current 12 weeks for the first suspension.

This may help to keep dangerous and high-risk driving behaviour motorists off the public roads.

Public roads are meant for every road user to use in a responsible manner.

The increase in traffic offences involving speeding on roads last year does not reflect well on the road culture in Singapore.

Ada Chan Siew Foen (Ms)