Third fatality in Singapore involving an Uber driver

The SCDF said the 31-year-old male passenger was found lying motionless. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.
The SCDF said the 31-year-old male passenger was found lying motionless. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

An Uber car crashed into a tree along Xilin Avenue yesterday morning, killing its back-seat passenger.

The Straits Times understands that the car, a Toyota Vios, had skidded before hitting the tree.

The 22-year-old driver, who was not injured, has been arrested for causing death by a negligent act.

The accident took place on the slip road to East Coast Parkway, in the direction of the Marina Coastal Expressway, at about 7.30am.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said the 31-year-old male passenger was found lying motionless. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Lianhe Wanbao reported that the victim suffered a fractured skull, and that the road was wet after a heavy downpour.

Police investigations are ongoing.

This is thought to be the third fatality involving an Uber driver in Singapore.

On Feb 10, a 23-year-old Uber driver was jailed for six weeks and banned from driving for five years for causing his teenage passenger's death and injuring a van driver in an accident along Seletar Expressway last September.

The second case saw a 62-year-old driver fined $7,000 and banned from driving for five years on March 29, after he hit a woman in Hougang last November.

Uber, which was launched here in 2013, has said it allows only cars which are commercially insured to be used, as required by the Land Transport Authority.

Lawyers have said that the Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act is an "overriding law" that protects all injured victims.

And in a case where there is no valid insurance, the Motor Insurers' Bureau - an independent body funded by all motor insurers in Singapore - will compensate the victim. The victim has to identify the driver when the private-hire car driver is at fault.

Mr Abhimanyu Arunatheym, 21, is unfazed by reports of the accidents, and plans to keep using Uber. The Singapore Polytechnic student uses the ride-hailing app once a fortnight when running late for class, finding it cheaper and easier than hailing a taxi.

"I think it is all right. (Safety is) very specific to the driver... I guess if this goes on, with more frequent accidents, it would be a problem," said Mr Arunatheym, who picks only Uber drivers with ratings of four and above.

An Uber spokesman, responding to queries from ST, said: "We are extremely saddened to hear about this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the deceased's family at this time.

"We are doing what we can to support them and stand ready to cooperate with the authorities in their investigations."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 10, 2017, with the headline 'Third fatality in Singapore involving an Uber driver'. Print Edition | Subscribe