Lee Bee Wah calls for jaywalkers to bear more responsibility in accidents in Parliament speech
'This rash jaywalker only received a warning from the Traffic Police, but my resident was sent to Court. Is it fair?'
Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah thinks jaywalkers should bear greater responsibility in cases of accidents with motorists.
Speaking at the second reading of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill on Monday (July 8), Lee said she supported the amendments to the Road Traffic Act, raising various examples of the severe implications that road traffic casualties often have on victims and their families.
On the topic of jaywalkers, for instance, Lee said a resident who lives in her constituency ward told her he faced much harsher penalties than the jaywalker he had hit:
“‘You chose not to cross earlier or later, but chose to dash right in front of my car. Of course, an accident happened.’ (he said). According to my resident, this rash jaywalker only received a warning from the Traffic Police, but my resident was sent to Court. Is it fair?
I want to ask the Minister, will drivers be jailed if they knock down and kill a jaywalker under this revised Act? I will fully support it if it has more severe punishments against jaywalkers.”
Lee commended the change to the Act that authorises the immediate revocation of the licences of drivers “charged with dangerous driving, those with previous offences, and those doing illegal racing”.
“Indeed such people are a menace on the roads,” she said.
She explained that residents often complained of their sleep being interrupted by vehicles racing along Yishun Avenue 1, Yishun Street 51, and Yishun Ring Road.
“This happens especially on Friday and Saturday nights. (The drivers) need not sleep but my residents need to sleep. Certainly, I hope to see more enforcement.”
Lee also called for further scrutiny on other causes of road accidents in Singapore including:
- Driving while insufficiently rested or on medication,
- Driving with a poorly maintained vehicle,
- Driving while using a smartphone, and
- the increased presence of aggressive drivers on the road.
More measures needed to catch zig-zagging PMD riders going on roads illegally
Lee then tackled the pertinent issue of personal mobility devices (PMDs), positing that drivers feel unsafe as some PMD riders flout the law by riding on roads.
“Many drivers have seen them zig-zag in many parts of Singapore. How many such riders have been caught by Traffic Police?
So I would like to once again call for measures to manage PMDs.”
Lee cited countries such as Germany, Peru, and France who have banned PMDs from footpaths while also suggesting that dedicated cycle and PMD lanes could be built to increase the safety for users.
She later said that PMD users should additionally be licensed, adding that these licences should be revoked if they meet in an accident.
MHA: PMDs currently regulated comprehensively
In reply to Lee’s speech, Second Minister for Home Affairs (MHA) Josephine Teo said that driving while sleep deprived, or when one is not in the condition to do so would “more likely be considered as dangerous rather than careless” by the courts.
Teo added that an accident caused by a mechanical failure would not be classified as a dangerous or careless driving offence. Rather it could be charged as an offence under the Road Traffic Act.
She also said that she agreed with Lee on the need to ensure that PMD riders behaved responsibly.
“MHA and TP (Traffic Police) work closely with MOT (Ministry of Transport) and LTA (Land Transport Authority) to dovetail our road safety and active mobility policies. We already regulate the use of active mobility devices through a comprehensive set of measures.”
However, Teo also explained that the bill does not focus on the area of active mobility devices — an umbrella term that PMDs fall under.
Top image screenshot from CNA video