The Straits Times
Published on Mar 04, 2013

Mindset change needed, not just fines, for safer roads


THE recent spate of traffic accidents calls attention to the need for road safety.

Currently, fines and demerit points are slapped on errant drivers. The monetary cost involved would then be a deterrent effect.

However, fines and demerit points alone will not be able to reduce the number of traffic accidents. Household incomes have been rising over the years due to the strong economy, and moreover, the fines are only a minute amount compared to the cost of owning a vehicle. Hence, many of these errant drivers do not mind forking out money for fines as they regard the time saved from speeding or driving recklessly as more important to them.

More emphasis should be placed on changing the mindset and attitude of such drivers. There is a need to educate drivers on the serious consequences of reckless driving.

I am sure that if adequate and effective communication channels are available to educate drivers, they will think twice before speeding or engaging in reckless driving, and the number of traffic accidents will be reduced.

In addition, I think that drivers should be rewarded appropriately if they do not violate the law. For example, if drivers have maintained a clean record by not being involved in any speeding cases for one year, perhaps petrol discount vouchers can be given to them as a reward. Drivers who maintain clean records for a longer duration, like five or 10 years, can be given better rewards to recognise their contribution in helping to keep our roads safe. I am sure that if such incentives are implemented, more drivers will be motivated to make an effort to refrain from speeding.

The key to reducing traffic incidents is by having a comprehensive education package which targets the root of the problem - the mindset that speeding is worth the risk in terms of the time they can save travelling - as well as recognises drivers who do not violate the law.

Aaron Low Chin Yong