SINGAPORE - Heavy vehicles make up just 5 per cent of traffic in Singapore's roads, but last year they were involved in three out of every 10 fatal accidents.
With their size giving them greater potential to cause damage and loss of life, the Traffic Police (TP) and Land Transport Authority (LTA) are carrying out a joint operation against errant heavy vehicle drivers.
The Straits Times joined them on Friday (March 23), accompanying a motorbike fleet of 12 covert TP officers and four LTA officers.
Dressed in black and riding black motorbikes that are harder for drivers to distinguish as police vehicles,the covert team has been in operation since June 2016.
Within 20 minutes of entering the PIE from the TP headquarters in Ubi, the ST witnessed two vehicles being pulled over, one for failing to wear a seatbelt and one for driving with curtains drawn.
In an op lasting just under two hours, the officers stopped five vehicles in total, for a range of offences including using a mobile phone and overloading.
While most drivers were chagrined and quick to comply, some were more defensive, like those of a tour bus pulled over along the ECP.
The man and woman, wearing bright blue Hawaiian-print shirts, argued with the officers for several minutes about the charge of inconsiderate driving.
In 2017, the top violations committed by heavy vehicle drivers were speeding, careless driving, failing to keep left on the expressway, beating a red light and driving without a seatbelt.
Drivers of these vehicles receive higher penalties for traffic offences.
The proportion of fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles was two in 10 in 2015, rising to three in 10 in 2016, which is also the latest total.
This is despite the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles falling 13 per cent from 879 cases in 2016 to 764 in 2017. The over-representation of such vehicles in fatal accidents is still a large concern.
"Heavy vehicles have the propensity to cause greater damage to others due to their size and this is why it is important for heavy vehicle drivers to practise good road sense and remain vigilant on the roads," said TP Inspector Hafiz Johari, patrol unit team leader.
"The Traffic Police will continue to adopt a tough enforcement stance against errant heavy vehicle drivers."
The TP also urged other road users to play their part in looking out for one another on the road.