Bike team targets errant heavy vehicle drivers

Left: Traffic Police and Land Transport Authority officers in the joint operation against errant heavy vehicle drivers yesterday. Below: The officers about to leave the TP headquarters in Ubi.
Above: Traffic Police and Land Transport Authority officers in the joint operation against errant heavy vehicle drivers yesterday.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
Left: Traffic Police and Land Transport Authority officers in the joint operation against errant heavy vehicle drivers yesterday. Below: The officers about to leave the TP headquarters in Ubi.
The officers about to leave the TP headquarters in Ubi.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Joint effort sees 53 summonses issued against 52 drivers for offences in two-hour operation

Heavy vehicles make up just 5 per cent of traffic on Singapore's roads, but last year, they were involved in three out of every 10 fatal accidents.

With their size giving such vehicles greater potential to cause damage and loss of life, the Traffic Police (TP) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) are carrying out a joint operation against errant heavy vehicle drivers.

The Straits Times joined them yesterday, accompanying a motorbike fleet of 12 covert TP officers and four LTA officers.

Dressed in black and riding black motorbikes that are harder for drivers to distinguish as police vehicles, the covert team has been in operation since June 2016.

Within 20 minutes of entering the Pan-Island Expressway from the TP headquarters in Ubi, The Straits Times witnessed two vehicle drivers being pulled over, one for failing to wear a seat belt and one for driving with curtains drawn.

The team that The Straits Times followed stopped a total of five vehicles for various offences, including using a mobile phone and overloading.

While most drivers were chagrined and quick to comply, some were more defensive, like those on a tour bus that was pulled over along the East Coast Parkway.

  • Fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles

  • March 21, 2018: Woman, 72, dies after she is hit by a lorry in Sin Ming.

    She was waiting for a taxi when she fell and was run over by a passing lorry.

    Nov 11, 2017: Woman dies after being hit by a bus in Sengkang.

    The 38-year-old was hit while trying to cross the road.

    May 7, 2017: Prime mover collides with a lorry, killing the lorry driver.

    A prime mover driver was trying to avoid a stationary vehicle when he lost control, veered right and hit the lorry.

    Oct 27, 2016: Two e-bikers were killed and a third injured by a trailer on West Coast Highway.

    The trailer driver, who was trying to change lanes, panicked and did not brake.

    June 19, 2016: Road worker killed by tipper truck.

    A road worker was killed on the Seletar Expressway. The accident was caused by a tipper truck driver who had not paid full attention to roadwork signs.

    Lee Wen-yi

The man and woman, wearing bright blue Hawaiian-print shirts, argued with the officers for several minutes about the charge of inconsiderate driving.

Last year, the top violations committed by heavy vehicle drivers were speeding, careless driving, failing to keep left on the expressway, beating a red light and driving without a seat belt.

Drivers of these vehicles receive higher penalties for traffic offences.

During the operation, which lasted just under two hours, 53 summonses were issued against 52 heavy vehicle drivers for various traffic offences.

In addition, 14 LTA offences such as overloading and excess passengers on lorry decks were detected.

The proportion of fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles was two in 10 in 2015, rising to three in 10 in 2016, which was also the latest total.

This is despite the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles falling 13 per cent from 879 cases in 2016 to 764 last year.

The over-representation of such vehicles in fatal accidents is still a large concern.

"Heavy vehicles have the propensity to cause greater damage to others due to their size and this is why it is important for heavy vehicle drivers to practise good road sense and remain vigilant on the roads," said TP Inspector Hafiz Johari, patrol unit team leader.

"The Traffic Police will continue to adopt a tough enforcement stance against errant heavy vehicle drivers."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2018, with the headline 'Bike team targets errant heavy vehicle drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe