Make caning mandatory for repeat drink-drivers
Source: Todayonline Jun 20, 2011
I refer to the report “18 arrested in ring-fencing operations” (June 17). The penalties meted out seem insufficient, which is no wonder that drink driving is so rampant. I urge the authorities to draft more draconian penalties.
I suggest, first, that vehicles of offenders be confiscated. Fines should be increased to s$1,000 for every milligram of alcohol above the legal limit, per 100ml of breath. The minimum period of disqualification from driving should also be increased to three years.
For repeat offenders, fines should be five times that for first offenders and the disqualification period doubled; their maximum mandatory jail term should increase from three to five years and caning should be mandatory for them.
from Wilson Choo
The Sunday Times, 5 Jun 2011
“the driving experience has deteriorated dramatically…. driving on the roads here has now become downright dangerous.”
“People have become bolder about such behaviour, likely because the police sometimes do nothing about it.”
” It is becoming more frustrating and dangerous to drive here. This could be solved if the Police would take action, and citixens stop putting up with this type of behaviour.”
– Jesses Wong
Outlaw these habits of bikers
Source: The Straits Times 4 Feb 2012
LOSING so many lives on the roads is tragic (‘Number of motorbike deaths on the rise'; Wednesday). Most of these deaths could be avoided with proper and responsible riding. Unfortunately, there is very little of that.
If motorcyclists cannot be self-disciplined and responsible, measures must be put in place to curb the problem.
For example, weaving through traffic should not be allowed and motorcyclists caught doing so should face severe penalties.
Changing lanes along expressways has become hazardous because of motorcyclists speeding by motorists’ blind spots and squeezing through spaces between cars.
Motorcyclists should behave like motorists and ride in the middle of the lane, taking up the space of a car. Motorists should also respect motorcyclists as fellow road users and not bully them to the sides of lanes.
Whenever I see a motorcyclist approaching from behind, I tense up because I have no idea what he will do. Rules and enforcement should be made stricter for motorcyclists and they must be made aware of the dangers they pose to themselves and others.
Vera Ong (Mrs)
I AM an American lawyer and Singapore permanent resident. My wife is a Singaporean and we have two young sons who were born here.
Last Friday night, I was playing with my four-year-old son at the void deck of Block 106, Simei Street 1 when a motorcyclist sped in, almost running over my son.
The motorcyclist stopped a short distance away, apparently to attend a football game. I confronted him over the incident and subsequently called the police, after he told me I did not belong here and to return to America.
The police interviewed the motorcyclist, who I understood to be 22 years of age. But he was only issued a summons for parking his motorcycle illegally in the void deck.
I was shocked by the penalty, bearing in mind that he almost ran over a child.
I was a criminal prosecutor in the United States and the motorcyclist’s action in speeding into a void deck, almost striking a person, would have been regarded as a felony called ‘criminal endangerment’.
One of the two police officers who answered my call told me he wanted to maintain peace in the neighbourhood. With due respect to the police, the first priority in this case should have been to protect people, especially children.
Instead, the police protected this motorcyclist far more than my four-year-old child.
‘They ought to be restricted to certain lanes or be forbidden from the overtaking lane.’
Source: The Straits Times 4 Feb 2012
MS SERENE ONG: ‘One main cause of accidents involving motorcyclists is their dangerous lane-changing on expressways (‘Number of motorbike deaths on the rise'; Wednesday). Considering their small size and high speeds, it may be hard for other motorists to notice or avoid them until it is too late. They ought to be restricted to certain lanes or be forbidden from the overtaking lane. This might lower the number of accidents involving motorcycles significantly.’
Reckless deck riders
Source: The Straits Times 4 Feb 2012
‘We are sending the wrong message if the police continue to adopt a lax attitude.’
MRS JENNY SIM: ‘It is puzzling that the motorcyclist who rode his motorcycle in the void deck was only issued a summons for illegal parking (‘Police should punish such reckless habits’ by Mr John Huntley; Wednesday). We are sending the wrong message to such reckless motorcyclists if the police continue to adopt a lax attitude towards these law-breakers. Do we have to live in continual fear of the safety of our loved ones?’
Drop in driving standards becoming a troubling norm
I refer to the report “Traffic Police maintain stance on licence regime” (June 1). Firstly, as a Singaporean, I am not persuaded by the argument by others that errant drivers here tend to be foreigners with a converted licence.
We should not go on a witch-hunt in light of the evidence of deteriorating driving behaviour even among Singapore citizens.
Let us not be the pot calling the kettle black.
As it is, I regularly see drivers beating the red light, not signalling when changing lanes, tailgating on the expressway while flashing the high beam, speeding past speed cameras that do not seem to be activated and racing at night.
There is now rarely a day of driving that I do not feel like I am entering a battlefield.
This is wrong but it is becoming a norm because if people think they would not be caught, they would continue to drive in these ways.
Such disorderliness is troubling and a threat to others. This is not the Singapore I knew.
No respect for lives
With the pending review of drink-driving laws, the question of intent to cause injury has come up in the report “Drink, drive, kill: Is it manslaughter?” (June 2).
Some lawyers argue that such drivers did not intend to hurt or kill anyone and, thus, should not be charged with manslaughter. I find this argument inadequate.
When a man quarrels with someone and it escalates into a fight that kills one of them, the killer would be charged with manslaughter.
There was no intention to kill, or even fight, and no seeming risk of a fatality. I doubt that one would start a fight if one thought someone could die. However, the case for reckless and drink-driving is more culpable.
All motorists know that drink-driving or reckless driving could result in death and/or injury; such cases are reported often enough.
Any confidence in their driving skills after drinking or while driving recklessly is misplaced and not borne of true belief.
While they have no intention to kill, the greater truth is that they have no intention to respect the lives of others.
The greater truth is that they do intend to take risks that may kill others. One must consider the severity of the possible consequences.
Lives should not be lost or compromised because of such drivers. The victim’s loved ones also have to pick up the pieces of their lives. No amount of contrition on the part of the guilty would do any good.
Since so many lives have already been lost, it should be clear that current penalties are inadequate.
The authorities should have acted earlier.
Worsening driving habits?
It was a short Facebook post about three road encounters that he and his wife had had yesterday. But within four hours, Law Minister K Shanmugam’s post had drawn more than 100 lively comments, which overwhelmingly agreed with his observation about an “increased amount of unsafe driving on our roads”.
In one incident, Mr Shanmugam’s wife, who was driving, wanted to change lanes and signalled, but a van behind sped up so they could not do so. “I wonder if it is the case that we are simply noticing this more, or if our driving habits have become worse,” he mused.
That provoked a litany of gripes from netizens – about drivers tailgating, not signalling early when filtering, using high-beam headlights, not giving way to pedestrians or cyclists, poor standards of driving instructors and more.
A number observed that there seemed to be fewer enforcement patrols on the roads and called for these to be stepped up. Others asked for heavy penalties for errant drivers or a review of speed limits for goods vehicles.
Responding to some of the comments, Mr Shanmugam noted that, contrary to belief that ministers have official drivers, they actually drive their own cars. As to those who suggested foreign drivers could be at fault, he said he was “pretty sure” that, in two of his three encounters, the drivers were local.
Bad driving habits common to all
I read with interest the suggestion on how “Taxis could set the example of good driving habits” (Sept 21), which sounded valid at first glance. In toto, though, the impression given is that bad driving habits are exclusive to taxi drivers.
One need only be stationed for 30 minutes at a busy road or intersection, and one would be amazed at the number of motorists guilty of not signalling, tailgating and horn abuse, not forgetting using their mobile phones.
Despite all the public education campaigns, bad habits prevail.
The only solution is for the authorities to book errant drivers, including cabbies, as well as impose higher fines and, especially, demerit points.
Incidentally, as cabbies drive for a living, why would any in their right mind intentionally flout traffic laws?
Indeed, some have bad driving habits, but no one can say with integrity that other motorists do not.
LTA needs to mind speeding motorcyclists in Woodlands area
I live in Woodlands Avenue 4, near the site of a recent accident where a motorcyclist hit a woman.
The video capturing the accident has now gone viral. The accident could have been worse as there are many primary schools in the area.
Prior to this, I have written several times to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to report that speeding motorcycles are common in the vicinity.
The LTA’s reply to my feedback was that the survey by the authorities shows that “motorists are travelling within the designated speed limit in general”.
I wonder how many surveys they do because I often hear motorcycles speeding, especially at night.
I hope the authorities will give the matter its due attention before any lives are lost.
Ungracious – on and off the road
Source: The Sunday Times Jun 12, 2011
“Motorist do not give way, most do not bother to signal, and tailgating is almost the norm of the road”
“I am loath to seek stricter controls but it’s high time the traffic police exerted their presence and muscle on those who flout traffic rules.”
– Clarie Chong (Mrs)
Patrols better than technology
I refer to the letters “Mobile phones must not distract drivers” (Jan 6, online) and “Switch gears and focus on strategies that prevent road accidents” (Jan 7).
I travel on the road every day and I see more drivers using their mobile phones than Traffic Police patrolling.
I wrote last year, in “Hang up on ‘hello’ while driving” (May 17), that the Traffic Police web page on its road safety campaigns did not show if anything had been done on this since 2009. A check again shows no change.
We see advertisements on the dangers of drink driving and speeding, but nothing to educate drivers on mobile phone usage while driving. We cannot wait for a fatal accident to happen before action is taken.
Another issue that catches my attention is how small children are not using booster seats. Some are even seated in the front passenger seat or on a parent’s lap in the front seat.
We have read of Singaporeans getting into an accident while on holiday and the death of children who were not belted up in the car. We should not let the same happen here.
The Traffic Police should enforce the rules more actively. Good old-fashioned patrolling should be more effective than expensive technology to get errant drivers’ attention and stop a potential accident from happening.