62 summonses issued against heavy-vehicle drivers in joint blitz

62 summonses issued against heavy-vehicle drivers in joint blitz
An NEA official performing an emission test on a heavy vehicle. The gas emitted is tested for harmful substances using a smoke meter. Photo: Najeer Yusof/TODAY

62 summonses issued against heavy-vehicle drivers in joint blitz

SINGAPORE — A total of 62 summonses were issued against 30 heavy vehicle drivers for various traffic offences on Monday (June 19), during a joint operation by the Traffic Police, Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The enforcement action — part of a month-long operation that comes on the heels of a rise in heavy vehicle fatal accidents and traffic violations — also saw 36 LTA offences being committed, which were mostly for illegal modification of vehicles. One foreign heavy vehicle was also turned back to Malaysia for excessive smoke emission.

The LTA said that it takes a serious view of the illegal modifications of vehicles as “they can create serious safety and environmental hazards”.

TODAY accompanied the agencies for around two hours during an enforcement operation, where at least two drivers were summoned for road traffic-related offences. In one instance, a heavy vehicle driver carrying a container was found to have only one vehicle registration plate for his trailer, instead of the required two registration plates, the other one being for the prime mover.

Another heavy vehicle driver was found to have not attached a speed limiter label, normally displayed on the windscreen to show that the vehicle’s speed limit has been calibrated to a safe limit. His vehicle was also found to have committed various LTA-related offences, such as a faulty reverse light, faulty rear number plate lamp, as well as illegal modifications.

Meanwhile, two Malaysia-registered vehicles were escorted to a heavy vehicle park at Jurong Pier Road to undergo emissions testing, which involves the placing of a Hartridge Smoke Meter into the exhaust pipe to test for diesel engine emission levels.

NEA officials found one trailer that had smoke emissions nearly thrice the safe limit of below 40 Hartridge Smoke Units. It was promptly escorted back to the checkpoint to return to Malaysia.

Commenting on the need for enforcement, the Traffic Police’s deputy commander , Assistant Commissioner of Police Devrajan Bala, said: “Heavy vehicles…have the propensity to cause greater damage and loss of lives when involved in an accident (because of their size).”

The number of fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles grew by 20.6 per cent to 41 cases last year, up from 34 the year before, the Traffic Police said last Friday.

Up to June 15, there were 19 fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles, an increase from 16 during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of traffic violations also rose by 13.3 per cent, from 16,413 in 2015, to 18,591 last year.

AC Devrajan added that the Traffic Police hoped that through the enforcement operations, they can “further shape the behaviour of the heavy vehicle drivers to safeguard other road users”.

As for the illegal modification of vehicles, an LTA spokesperson noted that the number of notices issued for such offences had dropped from a monthly average of 1,778 in 2015 to 1,161 last year.

From January to March this year, the monthly average of notices issued had dropped to 830.

Common illegal modification offences include modified exhausts, tinted windows and various lighting infringements, the spokesperson added.

Under the amended Road Traffic Act, a person convicted of illegally modifying or using an illegally modified vehicle on or after June 20 may be fined up to S$5,000 or face a jail term of up to three months if it his first conviction.