Bus driver, 39, pleads guilty to causing multi-bus collision at Pasir Ris Bus Interchange injuring 2 passengers

One passenger had glass from a shattered window embedded in her toe.

Ruth Chai | December 07, 2022, 04:26 PM

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When reversing a bus out of its berth at Pasir Ris bus interchange, a driver failed to keep a proper lookout and collided with another bus.

The driver of the second bus lost control of his vehicle and stepped onto the accelerator, causing him to crash into a third bus.

One passenger from the second bus and another from the third bus were injured as a result of the chain collision.

Pleaded guilty to negligence

SBS Transit bus driver Mah Jin Heng, 39, pleaded guilty on Dec. 6 to one charge of a negligent act endangering human life.

The Malaysian was fined S$2,500 and banned from driving for a year.

What happened

On Nov. 27, 2021, at about 10:05pm, Mah was reversing bus 88 out of its berth at Pasir Ris Bus Interchange.

Concurrently, bus 17 was driving perpendicularly behind bus 88.

From Mah's point of view, bus 17 was approaching bus 88 from behind, on the left.

Bus 5 was stationary to the right of bus 88, waiting for bus 88 to finish reversing.

Mah checked his rear and did not notice any vehicle from his left before reversing.

He then focused his attention on the kerb on the right side of his bus as a reference point.

Doing so, he failed to keep a proper lookout for oncoming vehicles from the left.

He should have done so as he did not have the right of way.

The driver of bus 17 thought that bus 88 would stop as bus 17 had the right of way, and proceeded to drive behind bus 88.

Mah did not notice bus 17 coming from his left, thus colliding with it.

The driver of bus 17 lost control of the vehicle and stepped on the accelerator.

Bus 17 then drove forward and collided with the rear end of bus 5.

A 57-year-old woman was seated on the lower deck of bus 17. She heard a loud bang and the window beside her seat shattered.

She fell to the floor when bus 17 collided with bus 5, and some pieces of glass were embedded in her feet. She later sought treatment from a private clinic.

A 22-year-old man was standing on the upper deck of bus 5. He fell upon collision, injuring his back and his wrist.

Court proceedings

The prosecution sought a fine of S$2,500 and a driving ban of 12 months.

CNA reported that Mah was apologetic and remorseful for the injuries and damage that he had caused.

He claimed to be extra vigilant and cautious when driving.

Mah also explained to the judge that he was the only caregiver for his elderly mother and has always been kind to his passengers, receiving numerous commendation awards.

He asked the judge not to impose a driving ban as he hopes to be given another chance to continue driving for a living in Singapore.

The judge agreed with the prosecutor that a deterrent sentence was called for in light of the injuries suffered and the risks posed to passengers as he was driving a large vehicle in a bus interchange, and lacked the required awareness expected of a bus driver.

Top photo via Soe Thiha on Google Maps