SINGAPORE - A cabby who was accused of reversing into a stationary car at a traffic junction as part of an alleged scam had not realised his brakes were not applied as he was distraught over news of a family member's terminal illness, ComfortDelGro told The Straits Times on Thursday (Nov 23).
A video posted on Facebook page Roads.sg shows the blue ComfortDelGro cab at the red light of a traffic junction. The cab then reverses into the vehicle as the latter's dashboard camera shows.
Passengers are seen alighting and arguing with the driver of the stationary vehicle and gesturing at the back of the cab and the front of the vehicle.
It is unclear when or where exactly the incident occurred, although the timestamp of the video indicates it was taken at 7.35pm on Tuesday (Nov 21).
The video, which went viral, drew comments from netizens who suggested the taxi driver colluded with the passengers for insurance payouts.
ComfortDelGro launched an immediate investigation, Ms Tammy Tan, ComfortDelGro's group corporate communications officer, told ST on Thursday.
The cab company verified that the taxi driver, who was with his family, had just been told that a close family member was terminally ill at the time the incident happened.
"His mother, who was in the car with him, was very distraught and when the taxi pulled up at the traffic junction, our cabby reached over to console his mother, thinking that he had engaged the gear into the brake position," she said.
However, he had not, and the taxi slid backwards as he leaned over.
"In his distress, he did not notice that this was happening until the cab reversed into the car behind," said Ms Tan. "When it did, he immediately stopped the cab and got out to check on the occupants of the other vehicle. Thankfully, no one was injured."
Ms Tan said the cabby is "deeply apologetic about the incident and has assured us that he will not drive when he is not in the right frame of mind".
She added that ComfortDelGro apologised deeply to the vehicle owner for the distress caused by the incident and asked her to reach out to the company so it could "enquire on her well-being".
In response to the allegations of scamming, ComfortDelGro stressed that "deliberate acts of mischief are not tolerated" and that it is "always prepared to take stern action against such culprits".