Elderly jaywalkers are involved in about 68 per cent of the 59 fatal traffic accidents involving jaywalkers, between 2017 to 2019.
In response to this, the traffic police have stepped up its engagement of elderly pedestrians, and have implemented senior-friendly road safety features, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling.
Sun was answering Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah's question in Parliament on Feb. 27, who asked whether there was a need to implement additional measures to reduce fatal traffic accidents involving elderly jaywalkers.
Lee also asked whether there is a need to review the current penalties to deter jaywalking.
LTA implemented Silver Zones to improve road safety for the elderly
In 2019, the traffic police detected about 2,500 jaywalking violations.
To help educate elderly pedestrians, the traffic police organised the Road Safety Carnival in 2019, themed "Be Seen, Be Safe", for more than 1,000 senior citizens.
This was meant to raise awareness on the importance of using designated pedestrian crossings and how to cross roads safely, according to Sun.
In 2020, the traffic police will also be working with the Lion Befrienders Service Association and NTUC Health Co-operative Limited, in order to train staff and volunteers to become Road Safety Champions to engage senior citizens on road safety.
To improve safety for elderly pedestrians, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has also implemented Silver Zones at locations with a high proportion of senior residents and accidents involving seniors.
Silver Zones have senior-friendly road safety features, such as rest points for pedestrians along road dividers, and signs to alert motorists of the presence of elderly pedestrians.
According to Sun, LTA plans to increase the number of Silver Zones from 17 in 2019 to 50 by 2023.
Further measures will be taken if necessary
Sun added that the Ministry of Home Affairs will monitor the situation and consider further measures if necessary.
Traffic police currently conduct regular enforcement operations at accident-prone locations and jaywalking hotspots.
Under the Road Traffic Act, it is an offence for pedestrians to fail to cross at a pedestrian crossing.
The composition sum for this offence was raised from S$20 to $50 on April 1, 2019.
In a follow-up question, Lee quipped that when she first came to Singapore, her cousins told her not to jaywalk and break the law, or else the police would catch her.
"Therefore, I'm very law-abiding," she quipped.
Facial recognition technology seen as invasive
But she said she couldn't say the same thing to visitors from Singapore today, given the prevalence of jaywalkers. She asked if technology such as facial recognition could be used at accident hotspots.
Lee added that she had noticed people using their phones while crossing the roads, and asked if any action could be taken if this was deemed to be dangerous.
Sun replied that more education and outreach will be conducted by the traffic police. However, she said there was feedback from the ground that facial recognition technology was seen as invasive.
Sun added that while the government was considering it, they also had to be mindful if too much use of such technology may cause discomfort on the ground.
Sun also said that community outreach efforts will also emphasise the importance of being mindful of one's surroundings, and that having your eyes glued to the phone while outside can be dangerous.
Top image from Unsplash.