Traffic offences by heavy-vehicle drivers up 16%

Traffic violations committed by heavy-vehicle drivers increased from 10,882 in 2010 to 12,583 last year. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Traffic violations committed by heavy-vehicle drivers increased from 10,882 in 2010 to 12,583 last year. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

More heavy-vehicle drivers seem to be getting reckless on Singapore's roads.

Latest Traffic Police statistics revealed to The Straits Times show that the number of traffic violations committed by them has risen by 15.6 per cent in the past three years, from 10,882 in 2010 to 12,583 last year.

Common offences include failing to wear seat belts, speeding and failing to drive on the leftmost lane of the expressway, a spokesman said.

Accidents involving heavy vehicles accounted for about 9 per cent of the total number of accidents in the past three years.

The main causes were failure to keep a lookout for other road users, not giving way to traffic with the right of way and losing control of the vehicle.

The sobering numbers revealed yesterday came a day after cement-mixer driver Munir Mohd Naim was charged over the fatal crash in Tampines that killed two brothers.

Also charged on Monday was former SBS Transit bus driver Chan Mun Hing, who is accused of causing the death of a woman at a pedestrian crossing in Clementi in April.

The two accidents put the spotlight on road safety and heavy-vehicle drivers, who are usually paid by the number of trips they can make in a 12-hour shift.

These drivers can make between $50 and $95 a trip but they must have at least a Class 4 licence to operate vehicles with an unladen weight of between 2,500kg and 7,250kg.

A driver who can chalk up at least five trips in a 12-hour shift can earn up to $475 a day.

A cement-mixer driver of four years, who declined to be named, admitted: "We try to drive as safely as we can but our main aim is still to make as many trips as possible to earn more money."

To curb dangerous driving, the Traffic Police have stepped up enforcement through regular operations.

But they are also trying to get the message across to heavy-vehicle drivers and their bosses through road safety talks, said the spokesman.

She added that the police are also communicating with the heavy-vehicle industry and companies to find ways to improve road safety for "the safety of both their employees and other road users in general".

Some firms have already started to beef up safety measures. The Singapore arm of the world's largest cement-maker, Holcim, spent about $90,000 to install beeping sensors in its entire fleet of 150 cement-mixer trucks two months ago.

These warn drivers of any vehicles or pedestrians nearby.

Holcim Singapore's safety, health and environment manager Eric Koh told The Straits Times that the company is also looking to put its heavy-vehicle drivers through courses that teach defensive driving in built-up areas later this year.

He added: "Nothing in business is so urgent that you cannot do it safely."

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