SMRT bus driver gets fine, driving ban

Subramaniam Kandiappan failed to keep a proper lookout, causing an accident in which 14 people were injured.
Subramaniam Kandiappan failed to keep a proper lookout, causing an accident in which 14 people were injured.

Fourteen people were injured when an SMRT bus driver failed to keep a proper lookout and hit another SMRT bus, which had come to a stop at a bus stop.

Yesterday, Malaysian Subramaniam Kandiappan, 47, was fined $2,500 and disqualified from driving all vehicles for two years. The Singapore permanent resident had pleaded guilty three weeks ago to causing hurt to passengers by negligent driving on Jan 25, 2016.

Subramaniam was driving service 858 in the left lane of Lentor Avenue behind service 854, driven by Mr Teo Ser Hian, 66.

The distance between the two buses was about a car's length when Mr Teo stopped.

It was too late when Subramaniam applied his brakes. Having failed to keep a safe stopping distance, he could not prevent his vehicle from hitting the back of the other bus.

The 14 injured passengers, aged between 22 and 69 years, were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

Six had been on Subramaniam's bus and eight on Mr Teo's. Two of the 14 passengers had to be hospitalised.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Si En said: "Due to the accident, the rear portion of bus 854 was badly crumpled whereas the front portion of bus 858 was badly crumpled and its windscreen was shattered...There was no mechanical fault in either bus."

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, SMRT said it was very sorry for the accident and a detailed review had been carried out. It said Subramaniam had been reassigned to administrative duties.

SMRT's vice-president of corporate communications Patrick Nathan said: "The safety of our passengers is the top priority. We monitor closely the driving behaviour of our bus captains and work with each one of them to improve their driving skills and service standards.

"Our training programmes are individually customised to each bus captain's needs, and include a combination of classroom, simulator and driving sessions on the road."

For causing hurt by performing a negligent act, Subramaniam could have been jailed for up to six months and fined up to $2,500.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2017, with the headline 'SMRT bus driver gets fine, driving ban'. Print Edition | Subscribe