A week's jail for cabby whose rash driving caused a collision

SINGAPORE - Taxi driver N. Prama Kumar was overtaking a car when its driver sounded his horn. Unhappy at the move, he cut into the path of the car and jammed his brakes, causing the vehicle to hit his cab.

The other driver, Benjamin Chua Ding Sheng, 19, and his father, Chua Keh Soon, 52, confronted Prama before assaulting him.

On Friday (June 22), Prama, 55, was jailed for a week and disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for six months after a four-day trial.

District Judge Marvin Bay had found him guilty of one count of driving in a rash manner at around 8.20pm on Nov 19, 2016.

The older Chua had pleaded guilty to causing hurt and sentenced to five days' jail on April 5, while his son was given probation.

The court heard that Prama was driving his taxi on the Pan-Island Expressway when he stopped abruptly, although there were no vehicles in front of him.

The older Chua, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of his son's car, hit his head on the dashboard and suffered giddiness in the accident that ensued.

The prosecution said Prama felt offended when Benjamin Chua sounded his horn and flashed his headlights.

The teenager had told the court he did so to express his concern for Prama's manner of driving, which he considered to be dangerous. He also said Prama had encroached into his travel path.

The Chuas assaulted Prama, whose injuries included a bruise around his left eye. He also suffered neck pain.

The taxi driver, who was unrepresented, said he had applied his brakes for "safety reasons" as he was "dazzled" by the teenager's headlights and was concerned for the vehicles that were purportedly travelling in front of him.

Judge Bay, in sentencing him, said: "It is difficult to attach any significant credibility to Mr Prama's claimed basis for braking as there were no vehicles directly in front of Mr Prama, nor vehicles attempting to overtake Mr Prama at the time of his sudden braking. This is manifestly clear from the CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage of Mr Prama's own taxi.

"Mr Prama's impetuous act of cutting into another lane and then braking engendered a high degree of risk, and threatened the personal safety of Mr Chua Keh Soon and Mr Benjamin Chua, with injuries caused to the former."

The judge also stressed that he did not condone the Chuas' conduct after the accident.

For driving in a rash manner, Prama could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,500.