Mr. Bernard Tay,
Chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council,
Distinguished Guests, Award Recipients, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening and thank you for inviting me to your Gala Dinner.
Road Safety Landscape
- First, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership and contributions that have helped to keep our roads safe.
- Our road safety continues to improve. In the last five years, the number of accidents with injuries and fatalities has gone down consistently.
- The outreach efforts by SRSC have contributed to this outcome. This year alone, I am told, SRSC has organised and supported numerous road safety events, including the 37th Shell Traffic Games, the Singapore Road Safety Month, Ride Safe 2018 as well as the Teck Ghee Road Safety Carnival for Seniors and Families.
- Your efforts have helped to raise awareness amongst road users, and provided timely reminders on good road safety practices.
- While the overall situation has improved, there remain areas of concern. In particular, vocational drivers, such as heavy vehicle drivers, continue to be overrepresented in accidents. In 2017, heavy vehicles were involved in 10% of all road traffic accidents, despite making up just 5% of the vehicle population.
Three Areas of Focus
- We must step up efforts to promote and encourage the adoption of safe driving practices amongst our vocational drivers. There are three areas that we can work on.
Leveraging Technology to Improve Safe Driving
- First, we should adopt new technologies that can help our vocational drivers remain safe on the roads.
- The Traffic Police (TP) has just concluded trials on three types of speed-tracking devices for heavy vehicles. TP and LTA worked closely with three companies, Goldbell Engineering, Ley Choon Group and Koh Kock Leong Enterprise, to trial these devices, which are equipped with speed tracking capabilities and audio buzzers that alert the driver when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit.
- Towards the same end of improving vehicular safety, as part of the Workplace Safety and Health Technology Challenge in June this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) funded five research projects.
- One of these solutions is a real-time tracking system which detects and alerts drivers to potential collisions. The system, which is currently undergoing test-bedding with logistic companies, SH Cogent and Koh Kock Leong Enterprises, also collates data that helps companies to coach and correct their vocational drivers.
- If these efforts prove successful, we will work with the trade associations to roll out these solutions to more companies.
- I would like to thank the companies that have stepped up to help test and deploy these new technologies, and I encourage more companies to come on-board.
Strengthening the Safety Culture at the Workplace
- The second area I would like to highlight is that employers must take the lead in developing and enforcing a strong safety culture at the workplace. This is crucial for the well-being of employees, particularly those whose work involves a certain level of risk like our vocational drivers who spend long hours on the road. Your companies will also stand to gain, by avoiding loss of productivity and disruption to business due to road traffic accidents.
- I am therefore encouraged to see that this year’s Singapore Road Safety Month, organised jointly by TP and SRSC, focused on engaging employers of heavy vehicle drivers and delivery riders. It provided a platform for Government agencies and companies to come together, to share best practices.
- On its part, MOM launched the “Managing Onsite Vehicular Safety” programme in June this year, to guide employers and workers on traffic safety in workplaces. This on-site assistance programme will reach out to 120 companies from the logistics, transportation, manufacturing and construction sectors.
- Additionally, employers can also make use of SkillsFuture Singapore’s training grant and absentee payroll support funding to send workers to MOM-approved training programmes such as the AAS Academy's “Crash Prevention Course”, which teaches on-road safety skills.
- Likewise, the Workplace Safety and Health Council, supported by SRSC, launched the “Drive Safe, Work Safe” campaign in June this year. Over a period of three months, more than 200 Singapore-registered companies pledged their support for the campaign, by implementing initiatives to promote awareness on how to prevent both on-site and on-the-road vehicular accidents. To date, we have reached out to more than 20,000 heavy vehicle drivers.
Fostering A Safe Driving Mindset
- The third area we should work on, is fostering a safe driving mindset in our drivers.
- TP and partner agencies such as SRSC have extended their outreach to a wide group of road users. Tonight, SRSC will be unveiling the fourth episode of its on-going road safety video series. I am sure that all of us will be able to take away a tip or two.
- I also look forward to the other initiatives that will be launched tonight, including the Automobile Association of Singapore’s (“AAS”) “Be A Road Safe Kid” children book launch.
- The efforts by TP, SRSC and AAS can only go so far without active support of road users. Vocational drivers, in particular, play a key role in shaping a safe driving culture in Singapore. In this regard, our Singapore Road Safety Award winners have set the gold standard through their personal conduct. I would like to highlight two particularly outstanding individuals:
- The first is Ms Jin Shu Juan, who is a Bus Captain with SBS Transit. Ms Jin has a fantastic driving record. Since joining SBS in 2009, almost a decade ago, Ms Jin has had zero accidents, zero safety-related incidents and zero traffic violations. Ms Jin is also a National Kindness Award Transport (Gold) and Excellent Service Reward recipient.
- The second is Mr Loh Hock a taxi driver. Mr Loh is an experienced taxi driver, who despite long hours on the roads daily, has been accident-free in over 23 years with Comfort! Mr Loh is also a Superstar Driver awardee with his company, and often takes time out from his busy schedule to share safety tips with his fellow taxi drivers.
- Ms Jin, Mr Loh and all our award winners are role models for all of us.
- Let me end by thanking the sponsors for your generous donations to SRSC over the years. Your contributions do go a long way towards building safer roads in Singapore, and demonstrates the community’s commitment to this worthy cause. It would have helped save lives and minimise injuries. I hope you will continue to support SRSC year after year.
- Congratulations once again to all the award recipients, and I wish you a very enjoyable evening.