Thursday, May 28, 2009

accidents waiting to happen

each time there is a crash involving a lorry carrying workers, especially foreign workers, there will this clamour for this form of transportation to be banned. the latest crash was the one in which four foreign workers were killed after the lorry they were in crashed into the back of a stationary trailer in tuas in the early hours of the morning this month.

according to a new paper report, the accident prompted member of parliament halimah yacob to call it a tragedy waiting to happen. from my own observations of how fast these vehicles are being driven and the manner in which they are driven, i have always thought that it is a matter of time before an accident, in which lives will be lost, happens.

land transport authority (lta)'s ruling is that vehicles carrying workers cannot travel faster than 60km/h. there is a label on the lorry to indicate this speed limit and another label to indicate the maximum number of passengers it can carry. it is rare to come across such vehicles sticking to the limit laid down by lta.

actually, all these labels are quite confusing because they do not appear to be consistent but anyway, they are just a label. on goods (g plate) vehicles i have seen some displaying 60km and some 70km. yet, there are some that display both 60km and 70km. even on mini buses (p plate) , i see two different figures.

i have not made an attempt to count the number of passengers; what i do know is that sometimes when i am travelling at 80km/h on the expressway, i have been overtaken by these workers-carrying lorries.

the other night i was driving at about 60km along kranji way when something quite alarming happened. a lorry, carrying a full load of foreign workers, thundered past me along the narrow and dimly lit road. it must have been travelling in excess of 80km/h. could you imagine the consequences if another lorry or other vehicle had been speeding in the opposite direction.

what i am trying to put across is that it is not the type of transport that is causing workers to lose their life; it is the recklessness of the drivers that cause such things to happen.

i do not know if the apparently rare sight of the traffic police on our roads these days has anything to do with the change in driving habit. i get the impression that the wild, wild west is making a come-back. i read about night races organised along orchard road. in my own neighbourhood, i seem to hear more frequently modified cars roaring down the road.

nowadays, drivers do not just beat red light, they ignore it. all kinds of drivers are into it - bus drivers, lorry drivers, truck drivers, taxi drivers, woman drivers, elderly drivers and executive drivers. maybe because of the heavier volume of traffic on our roads, they do not want to wait for another minute or so for the change of lights.


peter said...

I too very worried when I drive. Sometimes the drivers cut in and out of the lanes at high speed. I see drivers are foreign workers themselves. Then it reminds me also of NS days when we sat in the middle on the floor. Those who had seats could cling to the railings on the side of the truck but those on the floor had nothing to hold on when the truck jammed the brakes. Likewise I ask what happens when foreign works also do the same like NS boys? Maybe someone in LTA did his NS and felt if NS boys never meet accident so foreign workers should not.

peter said...

There is somethings I have learn on our Singapore roads. When there is a need to break immediately (when tailgating or otherwise), just switch lanes. No need to wonder to signal (can signal just to show show), just cut out. We were taught during L Driving and testing do slow down and apply brakes not switch lanes.

yg said...

peter, i have also learnt not to 'give signal' to motorists when i am at the pedestrian crossing. in the past, i would look at the approaching vehicle as i was about to step onto the pedestrian crossing. some of the drivers, instead of stopping for you, would just speed through. nowadays, i choose not to look in the direction of the vehicle as i step onto the crossing. of course, to play safe, i will have to ascertain the speed of the approaching vehicle before i make that move. now, so far, i don't face the problem of vehicles not stopping for me.

peter said...

I shall email u some recent photos. Sometimes the fault lies with the transport authorities.

To make our roads like capable of taking more traffic, they create more lanes. I look at Keppel Viaduct. At the speed of 70kmph/80Kmph, at best you can have 2 lanes plus one lane filter into Keppel Round - we have 3 lanes + 1 exit lane. Even that also wrong. How can you have one lane going to another viaduct along Teluk Blangah which has 3 lanes?

Sometime it looks like this country likes to built road dividers on such a narrow road.

yg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yg said...

thks, peter. i have received the two photos.