Monday, February 02, 2009

ACCIDENTS WITH MALAYSIAKINI: More deaths on Singapore roads

An all out effort to combat dengue threat, was not in the same light as campaigning safe driving/cycling. But both somehow are threats to society with untimely deaths.

More accidents and deaths
on Singapore roads

Mon, Feb 02, 2009
By Joyce Fang
asiaone motoring

THERE were more traffic accidents and more people dying on the roads last year, including those who died as a result of drink-driving.

One reason could be the increased population here and the number of vehicles on the road, which has risen by over 50,000 between 2007 and last year.

Figures from the Traffic Police (TP) showed that traffic fatalities have increased from 214 to 222 between 2007 and last year.

Still, it was a slight 1.5-percent improvement, with the fatality rate dropping from 4.66 per 100,000 population in 2007, to 4.59 last year.

What is alarming, however, is that motorcyclists and their pillion riders remain the most vulnerable road users, and have been so for over 10 years running.

Almost one in two of those who died were bikers or pillion riders aged 30 and below.

To address this issue, the TP will change the curriculum for those studying to get a motorcycle licence by June this year to include lessons on defensive riding.

Three theoretical lessons on defensive riding will be implemented, where instructors will teach defensive riding techniques.

These include tips such as things that motorcyclists should look out for when approaching junctions, pedestrian crossings or carparks.

'Specifics are still being worked out,' said a police spokesman.

TP commander Christopher Ng said: 'What is lacking is the mindset of motorcyclists... We hope to enhance the defensive-driving mindset of motorcyclists through these theoretical lessons.'

Also, new drivers and riders will soon have to view a new road-safety video before they collect their driving licences.

The video, aimed to instil responsible road behaviour in drivers and riders, will include clips of actual accidents, common causes of accidents and the sharing of experiences by victims and offenders.

Another worrying statistic showed that the elderly accounted for nearly half (45.2 per cent) of pedestrians who were killed.

Nearly four in five elderly deaths were due to jaywalking, where they failed to use pedestrian crossings or overhead bridges.

To address the problem, a new road-safety video, which has safety tips incorporated in songs, will be distributed to senior citizens' homes, shelters, community centres and Residents' Committee centres.

Commander Ng said: 'Their reaction is a bit slower, so educational efforts are needed to inform them to use traffic lights and wear something bright to let motorists know they are there.