His fight to get trucks to slow down
On Jan 28, 2013, a cement truck killed two brothers who were riding a bicycle at a pedestrian crossing in Tampines.
Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng then called for heavy vehicles to be kept out of residential areas.
He wanted the Housing Board and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to find a safer route that heavy vehicles could take in his constituency, away from schools or pedestrian crossings.But that proved impractical as construction sites are often within residential areas.
Mr Baey, who is also Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, pressed for changes.
"I've seen in Tampines narrower streets with wider dividers, to force drivers to slow down," said Mr Baey.
"Roads that were once straight are now curvy. This is another tactic to slow drivers down in residential areas.
"I feel that such physical conditions make people behave differently on the roads. LTA is trying."
These changes are part of what LTA terms Silver Zones to improve road safety for elderly pedestrians, a spokesman said.
LTA has completed seven Silver Zones (Bedok, Bukit Merah View, Jurong West Street 52, Lengkok Bahru, Tampines, Woodlands and Yishun). Eight more will be completed by next year.
LTA intends to implement 35 Silver Zones in residential estates by 2020.
Heavy vehicle accidents - it's all about the money
The figures are grim.
The number of accidents involving heavy vehicles causing injury or death has been rising.
In 2013, there were 816 such accidents. It was 839 in 2014 and 877 last year.
Heavy vehicle drivers point the finger squarely at the way they are paid.
They declined to be identified for fear of losing their jobs.
"We make about $18 to $20 a trip, $12 to $13 if the trips are shorter," one said.
They also blame foreign drivers, whom they say try to make as many trips as possible to maximise their short stay here.
Most of the drivers are foreign workers from India and China, he claimed.
"So to them, the amount of money matters because of the currency exchange. That's why they piah (Hokkien for rush)," said the local driver of five years.
Eight months after the horrific accident in 2013 where a concrete truck killed two brothers aged 13 and seven, the Workplace Safety and Health Council proposed that commercial drivers be given a fixed salary to help reduce deaths on the road.
There has been no news since the proposal.
Bok Seng Logistics group chief executive officer Dave Ng said the pay-per-trip system is merely an incentive for drivers to complete the jobs assigned.
They are also paid a basic salary. He declined to be specific or give a range.
To ensure his company's 90 heavy vehicle drivers are mindful of road safety for themselves and others, he installed a hi-tech road safety device in his fleet.
Called Mobileye, it is a driver-warning system that can sense road markings, pedestrians and other road users, alerting the driver if there is a potentially dangerous situation.
It also keeps a log of the mistakes made, which can be accessed by the company and shared with the authorities.
Is there a need for tougher laws?
In Singapore, drivers who kill others in a road accident can be charged with causing death by a negligent act. That carries a suspension and up to two years' jail with the possibility of a fine.
In the United States, causing death due to illegal driving of an automobile, including gross negligence, drink driving, reckless driving or speeding, is classified as vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide. The penalties range from three to 15 years' jail and between five and 20 years for habitual violators.
After the Tampines accident in 2013, Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Baey Yam Keng campaigned for heavy vehicles to be kept away from schools and residential areas.
He has had some success. (See report)
Mr Baey feels the law as it stands now is sufficient. He said the law already makes a distinction if the driver is negligent or reckless and provides for punishment according to the crime.
"Most importantly, when you get behind the wheel, top of mind must be the safety of those in your vehicle and of other road users. Always pre-empt and anticipate," he said.
The cement truck driver in the Tampines accident pleaded guilty to causing the death of the brothers. He was jailed two weeks in 2014 and banned from driving for five years.