Published: 22 May 2018
Mr Bernard Tay
Chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council
Mr Sam Tee
Commander Traffic Police
Mr Gerald Lim
Commander Traffic Police (Designate)
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good morning and I am very happy to be here today.
2. Today’s seminar is organised by the Singapore Road Safety Council (SRSC) and the Traffic Police (TP). The theme for the seminar is “Towards Safer Roads”. The objective is to provide a platform for companies to come together, to share best practices and learn more about what you can do as employers to instil good driving behaviour in your drivers.
3. Good road safety practices are not only imperative in keeping our drivers safe, but they also make good business sense by preventing accidents that lead to unnecessary downtime.
4. Our roads are safer on the whole, but serious and fatal accidents still occur. Every fatality and injury is one too many and we must not let up on our efforts to reduce the number of accidents.
5. There are two groups of road-users in particular whom we must pay close attention to - commercial drivers, in particular heavy vehicle drivers, and motorcyclists.
6. Commercial heavy vehicle drivers spend much time on the road, and are much more likely to be involved in accidents. Although the number of accidents involving heavy vehicles decreased by 13 percent from 2016 to 2017, such accidents are more likely to result in fatalities. In 2017, 3 in 10 fatal accidents involved a heavy vehicle.
7. Motorcyclists are vulnerable because they are less protected, and therefore they tend to suffer more serious injuries when accidents happen. While the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists decreased by 30 percent in the same year, accidents involving motorcyclists made up more than half of all traffic accidents. 4 in 10 fatal accidents involved a motorcycle.
8. Most traffic accidents are preventable. Many of them are caused by irresponsible driving – speeding, red-light running, making of unauthorised U-turns, and not paying attention on the roads.
9. I would like to share two of our strategies to promote road safety. First, leverage technology. Second, change mindsets towards road safety.
10. On leveraging technology, we have been actively using technology to shape driving behaviour and improve road safety.
11. In 2014, TP began installing digital cameras, to better deter and detect speeding and red-light running. This year, TP started deploying Average Speed Cameras at Tanah Merah Coast Road. With these cameras, motorists are more likely to keep to the speed limit across entire stretches of roads and not just where cameras are sited. The camera will be operationalised in the fourth quarter this year. If it works well, we may install such cameras at other locations in future.
12. TP will also be piloting two cameras utilising new 3D laser technology next month. These cameras have the capabilities to record the time of violations, vehicle number plates and the lanes in which the offences were committed. Multiple offences can also be recorded simultaneously. This serves to remind and deter drivers and motorists from committing traffic violations, for example, vehicles making unauthorised U-turns or stopping in yellow boxes, thereby causing obstructions.
13. For heavy vehicles, TP and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) are currently conducting a trial to test the effectiveness of speed-tracking devices installed on heavy vehicles. Such devices will enable companies to monitor the speed records of these drivers, and take timely remedial action against those who speed.
14. We are looking into various types of speed-tracking devices, for instance Digital Tachographs, Enhanced Speed Limiters and Fleet Management Systems. As part of the trial, we will test the accuracy of the devices, their compatibility with the heavy vehicles driven here, and their resistance to being tampered. The trial is expected to conclude later this year.
15. Later today, we will be able to view demonstrations of the Fleet Management System, as well as a vehicle with a Digital Tachograph installed. This will give us a better sense of how these devices work.
CHANGE MINDSETS TOWARDS ROAD SAFETY
16. Technology is an important enabler, but using technology alone is not sufficient. We will also need to change mindsets. Companies and individuals must take greater ownership and responsibility for ensuring road safety.
17. Companies can take on a more proactive role, to adopt good road-safety practices and instil good driving habits in their drivers. For instance, they can sign up their drivers for advanced vocational driving courses conducted by the Driving Centres and Automobile Association of Singapore.
18. They should also encourage their drivers to go for corrective education early. In November last year, TP adjusted the eligibility requirements for the Safe Driving Course, so that more motorists could benefit from the course. To make the course more effective, TP increased the duration of the practical component, from 30 to 50 minutes. Given the added rigour of the course, motorists who successfully complete it will now have four demerit points expunged from their driving records, instead of three previously.
19. I am happy to say our companies are stepping up to the plate. Last year, there were 23 recipients of the Singapore Road Safety Awards. These awards are given out by the SRSC, to recognise the efforts of companies that have taken the initiative to keep our roads safe, be it adopting best road-safety practices, investing in protective gear for their riders or educating their drivers on the importance of road safety. We hope the award recipients can share their experiences with others, and help them level up.
20. NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited is one of our award winners. Among other things, NTUC Income uses island-wide GPS tracking capabilities to improve the safety of their fleet operations. Their riders are trained in safe riding. They are also attired in the protective gear for additional safety. These are good and effective practices all of us can consider adopting.
21. Vocational drivers must also play their part. In particular, they should heed the Workplace Safety and Health Council’s campaign call this year, which is “Take Time to Take Care”. It reminds workers to take care of their safety and health, even while they work. In the context of vocational drivers, this means taking the time to check for blind-spots and taking short breaks to relieve fatigue from driving for long hours.
22. Road safety is a collective responsibility. As we work with companies to change mindsets, SRSC and TP are also ramping up efforts to raise general road safety awareness. As part of the Singapore Road Safety Month, we are introducing new road safety messages after today’s launch. These messages remind motorists to be vigilant on the road, keep a proper look-out, and avoid being distracted while driving.
23. TP has produced new animated videos on road safety, which will be screened later. The videos highlight the importance of keeping a proper lookout, and remind motorists to exercise road-sense. The videos will be uploaded onto the SPF online learning portal.
24. To conclude, I hope all of you will continue to support the SRSC and TP’s efforts to improve the safety of your drivers and riders.
25. I also hope you will pledge your commitment to promote and implement initiatives that improve road safety practices in your organisations.
26. With that, I wish you an informative and enjoyable morning.
27. Thank you.