One man was disappointed to find himself being fined for leaving his car “unattended” for a few seconds while helping his son check-in using contact tracing system TraceTogether at a tuition centre on 25 Jan.
Explaining the incident to TOC in an email, Ian stopped his car by the side of the road in front of the tuition centre situated in Tiong Bahru to drop off his son.
He then got out of the car to scan the TraceTogether code at the tuition centre for his son, as the child does not have a mobile phone and the school has yet to issue a token.
The QR code was positioned outside the centre, as parents were not allowed to enter the centre due to COVID-19 restrictions.
After scanning, which did not take Ian more than a minute to do, he walked back to his car, which was located just a few steps away.
However, when he returned to his car, a CISCO warden was already issuing him a ticket for leaving the car “unattended” and parking at a double yellow line.
Ian told TOC, “The timing of my scan in TraceTogether and the ticket issue are the same. Hence, it cannot be a case of me leaving the car unattended.”
“Furthermore, the CISCO warden was standing right in front of me beside my car when he insisted to issue the ticket. So on the basis of reasonableness, my car cannot be ‘unattended’,” Ian stressed.
Despite his attempts at explaining to the warden that his car was not ‘unattended’ as stated, the warden did not relent and proceeded to issue the ticket anyway.
LTA denied Ian’s appeal to waive fine
When Ian attempted to explain the situation to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in his appeal for a waiver, the LTA responded that the term “park” under the law means that a vehicle is stationary for a purpose “other than picking up, setting down passengers, goods or luggage” and that “such activities must be immediate with the vehicle moving off thereafter without delay”.
LTA added in its email response to Ian, “Waiting is not allowed irrespective of whether the hazard lights are activated, if there is someone in the vehicle, or if the engine is running. There is no grace period given.”
Having reviewed the warden’s body camera of the incident, LTA said that it had observed that his “unattended vehicle was parking on the unbroken double yellow line when the warden began the enforcement process”.
The Authority also noted that immediate alighting does not include going to the tuition centre while leaving his car unattended.
The car, it added, has to be parked at the designated area should there be a need to wait for a passenger or having to leave it unattended.
As such, the LTA said that it would not waive the fine.
Ian, however, argued that when a driver needs to load or unload goods from a vehicle, it would require them to move it to a proper location away from the car.
This would mean that the vehicle will be left unattended.
In such cases, he asked, “If the driver brings goods to a proper location away from the car, would it not be a case of leaving the car unattended even if [the] driver is still within [a] five-seconds walk?”
The same goes for boarding or alighting a vehicle, especially when the driver needs to assist children or elderly passengers from the car to a safe spot, said Ian.
Ian expressed his dismay against being “punished” for adhering to the government’s call for people in Singapore to adhere to the TraceTogether scanning requirement for contact tracing purposes.
He lamented, “I drove my son to this tuition centre, just beside the road. I walked with him to the centre just to scan TraceTogether … And upon walking back to the car, a CISCO warden just drops by and continues to issue me a summon.”
“Scanning TraceTogether is [of] paramount importance to Singapore’s efforts in tracing COVID-19 cases in the community. Without the need for this important task to support [the] Government’s call, I would not need to scan TraceTogether and could simply drive off, and I don’t need such multiple appeals,” said Ian.
Ian is still appealing to the LTA.
TOC has reached out to the LTA for its comments.