Right move to stop 'battle' at pedestrian crossings

File photo showing traffic at the junction of Nicoll Highway and Middle Road.
File photo showing traffic at the junction of Nicoll Highway and Middle Road. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Land Transport Authority's drive to eliminate discretionary right turns at road junctions is certainly a move in the correct direction (Plan to allow turns only on green arrow at junctions; and LTA looking at red amber green arrows for all traffic junctions; both published on April 27).

Indeed, this is long overdue. While it takes time to change all lights, it is comforting to know that those at accident-prone junctions will be fixed first.

Many pedestrians have been killed at pedestrian crossings, the very area constructed for their safety and protection.

When there is no legally imposed right of way, it is every man for himself in a daily battle between pedestrians and vehicles.

A lapse in alertness or wrongly judging that one has the right of way can lead to fatal consequences.

Motorists turning right ought to exercise patience. The desire to save a few seconds may end in disaster that would plague them for life.

Technology helps, but it can also hurt.

Drivers using GPS to guide them often hear the instruction "turn right now".

If a driver is too preoccupied with other matters, he may respond accordingly.

Perhaps technology can make mobile phones non-functional when a car approaches a road junction, or better still, whenever the car engine is turned on.

There should be no compromise when it comes to safety, particularly when the safety of others is at stake.

Daniel Chan Wai Piew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2018, with the headline 'Right move to stop 'battle' at pedestrian crossings'. Print Edition | Subscribe