On Assignment
On the Road with the Traffic Police
TP officers share their concerns over errant driving and how they keep the roads safe for all.

Home Team News TP SSS Khairul Road
Rules of the road: SSG Khairul checks on a driver after his car crossed double white lines along an expressway. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

Rain or sun, night and day, the officers of the Traffic Police (TP) are on patrol to ensure that our roads are safe. This vital task has helped keep Singapore’s road traffic accident rate low. According to the Annual Road Traffic Situation Report 2018 issued by the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the number of accidents resulting in injuries dropping from 7,726 cases in 2017 to 7,690 cases in 2018. 

In recent years, TP has also embraced technology to better detect and curb cases of speeding. “We now use enhanced Police Speed Laser Cameras that record high-definition video and capture the speeds of the offenders,” explained Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Siti Haira, Officer-in-Charge of TP’s Drink Driving Investigations Team. “Last year, we also introduced Average Speed Cameras along Tanah Merah Coast Road to detect speeding cases across a distance.”

A Tighter Regulatory Regime
While such measures have helped to reduce speeding violations and road traffic accidents, other trends are more worrying. “Even though we’ve seen a decrease in speeding-related accidents from 2017 to 2018,” said ASP Siti, “there was an increase in drink-driving accidents and cases involving the running of red lights.”
 
Home Team News TP ASP Siti
Efforts by TP officers such as ASP Siti have helped to reduce the number of fatal accidents and accidents involving injuries over the past five years. PHOTO: Muhammad Izz Hirzan 

A 23-year SPF veteran who has served with TP for five years, ASP Siti is especially concerned about the impact of such behaviour. “In my line of work, I investigate many drink-driving cases,” she said. “Many offenders believe they can handle their alcohol, and not have it affect their judgment. But this is untrue, and they can hurt themselves and other road users in the process.” 

To curb such practices, the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill was introduced in Parliament in May 2019 to enhance criminal penalties and tighter the regulatory regime in order to deter irresponsible driving. “Once the Bill is implemented, there will be a minimum mandatory jail term for irresponsible drivers involved in collisions that cause death or grievous hurt,” said ASP Siti. “Errant motorists who continue to offend will also receive steeper punishments.”

A 40-minute Chase
Reckless driving isn’t only a danger to motorists, it also poses a risk to pedestrians and other road users. TP officers understand the cost of reckless driving well; recalling a case from 2017, Staff Sergeant (SSG) Khairul Arifin shared how an encounter with an errant driver escalated into a 40-minute chase. 

Home Team News TP SSS Khairul Patrol
Keeping a watchful eye: SSG Khairul behind the wheel during patrol. PHOTO: Tan Ming Hui

“I was patrolling in the Ghim Moh area when I noticed a motorist behaving suspiciously,” recalled the 31-year-old officer. “I signalled for him to pull over and stop, but he refused and sped off instead. That’s how the chase started.” 

As he trailed the suspect, SSG Khairul was worried that the reckless driver would cause harm to other road users. Sure enough, the driver met with an accident, and it was SSG Khairul who pulled him out of the driver’s seat to safety. The driver was eventually charged with a range of traffic offences. 
 
Home Team News TP Equipment Collage 1
Road enforcement: While on patrol, SSG Khairul looks out for traffic violations and other offences. PHOTOS: Desmond Ang

Having served with TP for three years, SSG Khairul knows there are lessons to be learnt from every offence, from not wearing a seat-belt to reckless driving. At the end of every shift, his team will gather for a debrief about the challenges they encountered while on patrol. The officers will then discuss how these can be resolved. “We never know what will happen on the road, so we try to prepare ourselves, and to expect the unexpected,” said SSG Khairul. 

Home Team News TP SSS Khairul
More than a job: SSG Khairul served his National Service with the SPF and decided to sign on due to his passion for the work. PHOTO: Tan Ming Hui

At the end of each shift, what matters most to SSG Khairul is that he has fulfilled his duty. “As TP officers, it’s our job to keep our roads safe for motorists, pedestrians and other road users,” he said. “We’re there to make sure that they return home to their loved ones safe and sound.”


Deterring Irresponsible Driving Behaviour 
To learn more about the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, visit this page. Also, don’t forget to check out SPF’s Annual Road Situation Report 2018 and the Use Your RoadSense public education campaign, which encourages motorists to adopt defensive driving practices.

  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 28 June 2019
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