Set age rules for private-hire car drivers

Many people are understandably excited and convinced of the economic merits arising from the entry of private-hire car companies Uber and Grab.

However, it was reported that three fatalities involving Uber drivers have taken place in Singapore (Third fatality in Singapore involving an Uber driver; July 10). Two of the Uber drivers are young, aged 22 and 23 years old, and the third is 62 years old.

Most car insurers penalise young and/or inexperienced drivers with higher excess limits for accident claims.

This is because young drivers, who are usually below 26 years of age and relatively new to driving, are more prone to speeding and accidents.

On top of that, as a private hire, one also needs to find directions and navigate on less familiar roads, adding more distractions to the driver.

Older drivers are also at a disadvantage, given their naturally slower reflexes, lower alertness levels and possible physical limitations.

The Singapore Traffic Police requires all drivers above the age of 65 to provide a medical certification of their fitness before they are allowed to carry on driving.

Accordingly, I would recommend that, for the safety of both driver and passengers, young and inexperienced drivers, including those with, say, under five years' driving experience, and older drivers aged 65 years and above be prohibited from becoming private-hire car drivers.

This could reduce the incidence of accidents in the private-hire arena.

Raymond Koh Bock Swi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2017, with the headline 'Set age rules for private-hire car drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe