Greater safety risk with inexperienced drivers

Sunday morning's tragedy is the second time in a year that a passenger was killed in an Uber car here (Third fatality in Singapore involving an Uber driver; July 10).

I do not know when I last read of taxi passengers being killed.

Much as I applaud the efforts by Uber and Grab to improve the commuting landscape here, I do not agree with some of their rules - Uber only requires drivers to have two years' driving experience while Grab's drivers must be at least 21 years old and have two years' driving experience.

To be a taxi driver, you have to be at least 30 years old. Since most people obtain their driving licence at around age 20, that means most taxi drivers have around 10 years of driving experience.

This accumulated experience is nothing to laugh at and should never be taken for granted.

Things like what distance to keep between cars, how that distance changes when it rains, how much to slow down at the bends, and how to navigate the expressways enable drivers to stay safe on the road.

Younger drivers, at 22 or 23 years old, have not accumulated enough of such knowledge.

To provide more safety for passengers, and to allow fair competition, I ask the Land Transport Authority to impose the same age criterion on Uber and Grab as that imposed on taxi drivers - drivers should be at least 30 years old.

Let us not wait for a third or fourth death before we contemplate a change.

Chua Boon Hou

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Greater safety risk with inexperienced drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe