Road accidents resulting in fatalities, injuries fall in first half of 2020 due to quieter roads during circuit breaker

The quieter roads during circuit-breaker might also have enticed more motorists to speed. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - With less traffic on the roads during the circuit breaker period, traffic accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities fell by more than 30 per cent in the first half of this year.

There were 2,565 such accidents recorded from January to June this year, down from last year's corresponding figure of 3,832, the latest figures released by the police on Tuesday (Aug 18) show.

The total number of fatalities and injuries recorded on the road also decreased by 37 per cent to 3,071 - this figure included 50 deaths - down from the 4,876 registered last year in the same period.

However, the quieter roads during the circuit breaker might also have enticed more motorists to speed, judging by the 5.2 per cent surge in those caught in the first half of this year.

There were 94,359 speeding violations in the first six months of this year, up from 89,718 last year.

"The Traffic Police take a serious view of such violations, which put the lives of motorists and other road users at great risk. Motorists should keep within the speed limits at all times," said the police in a statement.

Meanwhile, speeding-related accidents fell slightly by 8.1 per cent to 329, down from 358 in the first six months of 2019.

Motorists also ran fewer red lights on the roads in the first half of this year - violations fell by 14.3 per cent to 24,169, down from last year's 28,208. The police recorded 40 red-light running accidents, a 59.6 per cent drop from 99 last year.

The temporary closure of watering holes and nightlife establishments during the circuit breaker could also have contributed to a dip in drink driving.

Police said drink-driving arrests fell by almost a third - 661 drunken drivers were nabbed this year compared with 971 last year - but fatal drink-driving accidents inched up.

Out of the 55 drink-driving accidents recorded this year, six resulted in fatalities. Last year, four of the 86 drink-driving accidents involved fatalities.

Errant motorists now face heavier imprisonment terms and fines if convicted of driving offences, since the amendments to the Road Traffic Act came into effect in November last year, said the police.

First-time offenders who are caught drink driving will face a jail term of up to 12 months, and a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000. Repeat offenders will face up to two years' imprisonment, and a fine of between $5,000 and $20,000.

The police also said they are still concerned about accidents involving elderly pedestrians and motorcyclists, who "continue to account for a disproportionate number of traffic accidents resulting in injuries or death".

Elderly pedestrians were involved in about 100 cases of road accident injuries, and accounted for eight of the 50 deaths recorded in the first half of this year.

Motorcyclists or pillion riders accounted for 1,615 injuries in road accidents and 30 deaths.

The police remind elderly pedestrians to use pedestrian crossings when crossing the roads, as about half of all accidents involving this group were due to jaywalking.

The police also said they will continue to work with stakeholders to encourage safer riding habits among motorcyclists, noting that bikers or their pillion riders were involved in about 60 per cent of all traffic accidents.

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