Following the recent fatal accident at Tanjong Pagar that claimed the lives of five men, experts opined that road-calming measures such as humps do not necessarily serve as practical solutions to curb speeding issues.
As reported by The Straits Times (ST), they explained that such measures can result in traffic bottlenecks, which will, in turn, inconvenience residents and businesses in the area.
The police believed that the fatal car crash, which occurred on 13 Feb, happened due to the car speeding along a stretch with a 50km per hour limit.
The accident had also brought to the spotlight the longstanding noise disturbance to residents caused by speeding cars in the area.
In the wake of the Tanjong Pagar crash, police revealed that they would look into further enforcement operations in the vicinity, on top of road-calming measures.
However, MP for the area, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Indranee Rajah warned that installing speed humps would affect traffic at all hours.
Echoing the same sentiment, experts also agreed that placing humps in areas with heavy traffic flow like Tanjong Pagar would further slow down traffic and cause congestion.
Traffic police told ST that speeding has been the top offence committed by motorists in the past three years.
While agreeing that adding humps can curb the speeding problem, Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) chief executive Lee Wai Mun said that it could also increase pollution, with vehicles moving on a lower gear and using significantly more fuel per kilometre.
He added that these measures could also increase noise levels, as the drivers need to decelerate and rev up again, adding that motorists may also end up taking to parallel residential streets to avoid the humps.
Pointing out some suggestions, transport consultant and retired Land Transport Authority (LTA) planner Gopinath Menon was quoted in ST as stating that narrower roads and lanes, “dragon’s teeth” jagged markings, and speed regulating strips are other possible measures that can be included to solve the issue.
To this, Mr Lee said narrower lanes can be created by extending sidewalks or adding bollards, planters or on-street parking.
Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay recommended adding dividers, and signage and markings to warn motorists of sharp bends or to slow down.
However, if these measures still fail to stop motorists from breaking traffic rules, then enforcement must be increased, the observers noted.
Measures that can help enforcement include more cameras, more frequent patrols and restricting road access at certain hours, or clamping down on illegal vehicle modifications.
Even so, a traffic police spokesman said that enforcement cameras are deployed in Singapore and operations are carried out regularly.
“Motorists who are caught flouting traffic rules may be prosecuted in court. If grievous hurt or death is caused, motorists may face imprisonment and disqualification from driving,” the spokesman added.
Mr Lee said that the current syllabus in driving schools mainly focus on hard, technical skills on how to drive rather than soft skills to increase risk awareness for safe driving.
“Drivers tend to take things for granted after they’ve passed their driving test, and become over-confident of their skills,” said Mr Tay.
Mr Menon added, “Instilling road safety habits has to be a combination of education and enforcement.
“Societal pressures can be useful. We shame litterbugs publicly – why not shame dangerous and reckless motorists publicly?”
Harsher penalties should be imposed on owners, workshops involved in illegal modifications of vehicles, netizens say
Over on social media, netizens said that harsher penalties should be imposed on vehicle owners and workshops involved in illegal modifications of vehicles, as such modifications allow them to participate in illegal racing that puts lives at risks.
Penning their thoughts on ST’s Facebook page, one user said: “Driver, passengers and the company boss that modified the vehicle, all these people should be punished by fine or jail respectively, involved vehicle should be confiscated too.”
Another user suggested that the licences of errant workshop owners should be revoked and made unrenewable, while the drivers’ licence of those caught speeding should be subject to the same actions.
Others called for sanctions beyond revocation of licences, such as imprisonment, heavy fines and even the death penalty against “speed demon(s)”.
In their view, such “reckless drivers” are likely to continue speeding and racing on the roads without such punishments.
One user pointed out that driving schools should focus on teaching students how to drive responsibly, beyond the hard skills of driving itself.
Separately, one netizen questioned the whereabouts of traffic police these days.
“They’re practically non-existent these days… only seem to be doing the outdated tricks (e.g hiding on bridge at Lornie Road only) at an even lower frequency,” they claimed.