S’porean woman, 25, pleads guilty to causing friend’s death in Bukit Timah traffic accident
Discretionary right turns are risky for impatient and inexperienced drivers.
A 25-year-old Singaporean woman has pleaded guilty on March 14 to causing the death of her friend in a car accident.
The driver, Honami Lam Qixin, pleaded guilty.
She and her boyfriend had offered 23-year-old Jasmine Lim Jia Yan a lift after attending a birthday party on April 22, 2018 at about 1am
The accident saw the car colliding with an off-service SMRT bus in Bukit Timah, at the junction of Jalan Anak Bukit and Jurong Kechil Road.
Lim passed away after sustaining head injuries.
Lam and Lim were friends.
Lam’s boyfriend, Jake Lau Zhi Wei, was also in the car. He was in the front passenger seat.
Lim was seated in the back seat.
The group had attended the birthday party of Lim’s boyfriend held at the Pine Grove Condominium, near Ulu Pandan road.
Lam pleaded guilty to causing death by negligent driving.
The court heard that Lam’s intention was to turn right towards the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), which was heading to Changi.
But Lam started moving when the traffic lights turned green, before the right-turn green arrow appeared.
She then proceeded to make a right turn immediately towards the PIE without stopping the car at the turning pocket.
The SMRT bus, which was travelling on the opposite direction on Jalan Anak Bukit could not brake in time when the driver saw the car turning into its path, and collided into the vehicle.
Lim was taken to the National University Hospital, where she died of her injuries later that morning.
Lam will be sentenced on March 29 and is currently out on an S$10,000 bail.
She may be jailed up to two years, fined, or both, for causing death by a negligent act.
Another fatal accident occurred just three days prior to this on April 19, 2018.
Yap Kok Hua, 55, a taxi driver, was charged with causing the death of a National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate by negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide.
The student, Kathy Ong, 19, was killed after the taxi she was in was turning right but got rammed by a car that was travelling straight.
She was seated in the taxi’s left rear seat at that time, where the impact was.
Call to ban discretionary right turns
Such accidents have since sparked a petition to get the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to ban discretionary right turns at junctions.
The petition cited that drivers now find it “difficult to have field of vision” given the various things that they would have to look out for, thus making it difficult to make a “safe and informed judgement”.
The LTA has since announced in 2018 that it will do away with discretionary right turns where possible, and in the next four years, most motorists will only be able to make right turns when the green arrow appears.
Top image via Google Maps