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Recent spate of cases of driving against traffic flow unintentional: Traffic Police

Recent spate of cases of driving against traffic flow unintentional: Traffic Police
A driver seen going against traffic flow on Jan 5, 2017, along AYE towards Tuas. Screengrab: Roads.sg/Facebook

Recent spate of cases of driving against traffic flow unintentional: Traffic Police

Total of 8 cases under investigation since Dec 28

SINGAPORE — Two more cases of driving against the flow of traffic have emerged, adding to the recent spate of cases, but the Traffic Police (TP) on Wednesday (Jan 11) assured the public that Singapore’s roads remain safe and cases of dangerous driving have, in fact, declined year on year.

Most of the incidents of late — seven in less than three weeks — were accidental and unintentional, although one driver will be charged in court on Thursday for driving against traffic on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) on Jan 5.

At a media briefing, Traffic Police commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Sam Tee, said the spate of reported cases of driving against the traffic flow in recent weeks could be due to greater awareness following the fatal Dec 19 accident along the AYE, which might have also “triggered off certain anxieties”.

The accident occurred when a 53-year-old man drove against traffic, and left one person dead and three others injured.

Referring to public concerns over such cases, SAC Tee stressed that the roads are not getting more dangerous.

Between January and September last year, there were 118 cases of dangerous driving, including driving against traffic flow, down from 189 during the same period in 2015, he said.

“Is our sense of law and order on the road deteriorating? The answer is no. The numbers show that, the roads are getting safer every year. The road sense of road users here are also getting better.”

SAC Tee added that it was not a “common occurrence” to have a vehicle driving at high speed against the flow of traffic on roads and expressways.

While most of the recent cases were unintentional, due to reasons such as the driver’s unfamiliarity with the roads, the TP will not hesitate to take “swift and stern action” in cases where drivers wilfully commit the offence.

SAC Tee said the TP might look at technology to help detect vehicles driving against the flow of traffic, but added that it would depend on “operational needs” and if there were “danger areas”.

“Our strategy has always been that it should be a combination of ground policing, and using technology that enables us to do some of the work, and we need to find that balance,” he said.

Meanwhile, the TP said on Wednesday that a 30-year-old man will be charged in court on Thursday for dangerous driving.

The man, who had allegedly driven his red BMW coupe against traffic flow along the AYE in the wee hours of Jan 5, was arrested the next day near Jubliee Road. He is also being investigated for drink driving.

If found guilty of dangerous driving, he could face a fine of up to S$3,000 or 12 months’ jail, or both, if it is his first conviction. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to S$5,000 or a two-year jail term, or both.

For drink driving, he could be fined between S$1,000 and S$5,000, or jailed up to six months. In both offences, he could also face a suspension from driving.

To prevent more accidental cases of driving against traffic flow, the TP said safety improvements — such as more prominent road direction markers — would be made at areas where recent incidents had occurred, adding that it was working with agencies such as the Land Transport Authority.