Tipper truck driver jailed and banned for causing crash that killed road worker

SINGAPORE - A road worker was placing cones on the Seletar Expressway (SLE) when the truck that had been parked behind him rammed into him, crushing him against a lorry parked in front.

The collision killed 26-year-old Khan Sajib, and a six-day trial found that it had been caused by a tipper truck driver who had not been paying full attention - even after passing a sign indicating roadworks ahead.

Shunmugam Chokkalingam, who drove into the stationary truck, was jailed for 10 weeks on Wednesday (Feb 14) after he was convicted of causing the Bangladeshi's death through a negligent act.

The 39-year-old Indian national was also banned from driving for five years.

The court heard that he had been driving towards the Bukit Timah Expressway at about 1.20am on June 19, 2016, and passed the electronic signboard indicating roadworks.

He rammed into the back of a truck which, although it was fitted with a "crash cushion", surged forward and hit Mr Sajib, who died of severe pelvic injuries at the scene.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ashraf Hassan said that the parked truck had its blinker, hazard and arrow lights switched on, as did the lorry 15m in front of it.

Mr Meyyappan Muhilan, one of the prosecution witnesses, had been sitting in the stationary truck when he felt the impact. He said he had also switched on two globe-like lights above the arrow light.

Shunmugam's lawyer Revi Shanker said in mitigation that his client is a first-time offender who is married with two children. He said he was remorseful and regretted the loss of life, adding that he had been working here for 15 years.

District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam agreed with the prosecution that drivers of large and heavy vehicles have a greater responsibility to be watchful because of the aggravated consequences of any collision.

Shunmugam could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for causing death through his negligence.