Make errant drivers display symbols on cars signifying offence

One of the most obvious examples is drivers not stopping at zebra crossings when there is a pedestrian crossing the road.
One of the most obvious examples is drivers not stopping at zebra crossings when there is a pedestrian crossing the road.PHOTO: ST FILE

The announcement to introduce harsher penalties for driving offences is long overdue (Harsher penalties on the cards for driving offences, Feb 22).

A driver has to undergo extensive training, learn the rules and pass a test to be licensed to handle a vehicle. But as soon as a licence is issued, most rules are disregarded.

One of the most obvious examples is drivers not stopping at zebra crossings when there is a pedestrian crossing the road.

This is an immediate failure during a test, indicating the seriousness of the offence.

However, one has to only stand near a zebra crossing to observe how often this rule is blatantly ignored, even when a pedestrian is actually crossing the road.

Many drivers regard their cars as status symbols. They think that because they can afford to buy an expensive car, they have a right to drive as they please. This idea is so ingrained in them that it is almost impossible to change.

Small fines and derisory jail sentences have done little to address the problem.

Hopefully, the new proposal to forfeit cars in cases of dangerous driving is one that might be able to change this mindset, and it should include all cases of careless, negligent, inconsiderate and dangerous driving, including drink-driving cases.

In such cases, the vehicles should be impounded for a period of time commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.

Notices with the errant driver's name and details should be put on prominent public display.

After the period of incarceration, the driver must display, in a prominent spot on his car, a symbol signifying the driving offence he had committed. The duration for this display should also depend on the seriousness of the offence.

These measures are low-cost, easy to implement and will reveal the extent of the problem, the culprits and the consequences of their action.

A mere fine, negligible compared with the cost of a car, is an insult to victims and their families, whose lives have been shattered.

Hopefully, these new measures will serve as a reminder to all drivers to adopt safer and more considerate driving habits.

Lu Chisen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'Make errant drivers display symbols on cars signifying offence'. Print Edition | Subscribe