By the numbers

The number of people killed by heavy vehicles hit a 10-year high in 2011, with 83 heavy vehicles and buses involved in fatal accidents.

Heavy vehicles involved in accidents resulting in injury and deaths

2015: 877

2014: 839

2013: 816

Total number of accidents resulting in injury and deaths

2015: 8,170

2014: 7,940

2013: 6,426

Population of buses and goods and other vehicles

2015: 161,019

2014: 161,616

2013: 161,267

Total vehicle population

2015: 957,246

2014: 972,037

2013: 974,170

Source: Singapore Police Force

His fight to get trucks to slow down

FATAL: The driver of this cement truck hit two brothers, aged 13 and seven, who were crossing a traffic light junction in January 2013.

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.

SLOW DOWN

"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

PROBLEM: The number of accidents involving heavy vehicles causing injury or death has been rising.

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.

Why?

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.

RECKLESS

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.

Cyclist still traumatised after truck hit him

Cyclist who was hit by a truck last year wonders why similar accidents are still happening

EXCRUCIATING: Mr John Liang said the inside of the helmet he was wearing split in two. He suffered 10 broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a clot in his brain.
TIPPED: The tipper truck that hit Mr John Liang hit two trees before landing on its side, according to witnesses.

He shuddered when he read about a cyclist who died after she was hit by a cement truck on Monday.

"The hair on my arms stood," Mr John Liang, 39, told The New Paper.

Madam Lin Shui Yu, 59, was hit while cycling on a pedestrian crossing in Yishun Central. She was cycling with two of her friends.

Why does this keep happening, wondered Mr Liang.

In March last year, he was cycling along Changi Coastal Road when a tipper truck hit him from behind.

Mr Liang was flung "several metres" and landed on the grass verge, head first.

"Thank God, I had my helmet tightly strapped to my head. Yet it came off and the inside split in two, like a watermelon," said the cycling enthusiast.

"I suffered 10 broken ribs and a broken collarbone. There was also a blood clot in my brain.

"Can you imagine what would have happened if I wasn't wearing a helmet?"

Mr Liang lost consciousness "for about 30 seconds after the landing" and when he came to, the first thing he saw was the tipper truck lying on its side.

He said: "The condition on the road that day was perfect - the sun was shining, the roads were dry and traffic was not heavy.

"There was no possibility of bad vision or the vehicle skidding. Then this happened.

"Witnesses who ran over to help me told me that after it hit me, the truck swerved and hit two trees before landing on its side."

Mr Liang believes that the truck driver was a foreign national who had been on the job for only a month.

This could not be verified.

"The irony was he managed to escape unscathed," Mr Liang said.

Despite being in excruciating pain, Mr Liang still had his wits about him.

"I was able to give my wife's contact number to the passers-by and ask them to send photos of the accident scene to her," he recalled.

SURGERY

Mr Liang was taken to Changi General Hospital and warded for three days.

"I underwent surgery to have tubes inserted into me to drain the blood, just in case the broken ribs stabbed and punctured my lungs," he said.

"But I didn't go through any operation to repair my ribs or collarbone. They healed on their own. I was also given morphine to manage the pain."

Mr Liang was on medical leave for two months after he was discharged from the hospital and spent the next nine months trying to recover.

He was given painkillers.

"I couldn't sleep well. I would be jolted awake by the pain if I were to turn in my sleep," he said.

"I am still recovering. Every six months, I would have to return to the hospital for my check-up to make sure my collarbone is healing well.

"It hasn't fully healed. I was told there is still 5mm more to grow before it becomes whole again."

The clot in his brain has slowly dissipated.

Mr Liang has yet to get back in the saddle.

"It has been a year and I still feel the apprehension," he said.

"The lack of exercise has piled on the weight. I need to get fit again. I need to conquer my fear and get back to riding soon.

"I hope by telling my story, I'll be able to persuade the authorities to look into the industry which allows foreigners to drive big vehicles before they are familiar with our roads.

"They also have to look into the drivers' long hours and their driving speed."

Mr Liang does not know what became of the driver who hit him.

"Something needs to be done before more people are killed on the roads unnecessarily," he added.

Win preview tickets to Teenage Mutant Ningja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDOS1IU_aUg

Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell).

After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world.

As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.

 ©2016 Par. Pics

We have 10 pairs of preview tickets to a screening on May 31, 7pm, at Cathay Orchard Cineleisure to give away, courtesy of UIP.

To win, simply watch the trailer and name the actor who plays Casey Jones.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows opens here June 2. 

The contest is now closed. Thank you for participating.

 

 

 

Win tickets to A Rooftop Affair concert

GROWTH: Greyson Chance when he first came to Singapore in 2011.

Fans of live music, you wouldn't want to miss this al fresco music experience! A Rooftop Affair, Serangoon Gardens' only rooftop concert, returns on June 18, 6,30pm, at myVillage Rooftop at Level 3. 

This year, American singer-songwriter Greyson Chance, who shot to fame in 2010 when his performance of Lady Gaga's Paparazzi went viral on YouTube, is the headlining act. He will serenade fans with songs from his latest EP, Somewhere Over My Head. Local wunderkind Inch Chua will be performing as well. 

We have five pairs of tickets to A Rooftop Affair to give away, courtesy of Universal Music.

To win, answer the question below. Indicate too if you are a TNP SuperKaki for extra chances to win.

The contest is now closed. Thank you for participating.

 

 

 

Pek Kio Market and Food Centre to close for 2 days after spate of gastric flu cases

Pek Kio Market and Food Centre will be closed for two days after more than 180 patients with gastroenteritis were reported in the area.

Pek Kio Market and Food Centre will be closed for two days after more than 180 patients with gastroenteritis were reported in the area.

The market, located along Owen Road near Farrer Park, will be closed for two days for "a thorough cleaning and disinfection" from Wednesday (May 25), said a joint press release by the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA), Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and national water agency, PUB on Tuesday (May 24).

Just last month, the authorities also had to suspend the licence of Goodwood Park Hotel's bakery after a spate of food poisoning cases involving 183 people. It has since been cleared to re-open.

The decision to close Pek Kio market was made after MOH was alerted by a doctor in a clinic in the area who noticed a spike in the number of patients with gastroenteritis, or more commonly known as gastric flu, between May 16 and 19.

Further investigations found that there were more than 180 patients who sought medical treatment at other clinics in the area for symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain during the past week.

While patients were able to recover within a few days, seven patients have been warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital for observation although they are said to be recovering well.

A joint investigation by NEA, MOH, AVA and PUB on May 19 discovered that most of the patients stayed near or have visited the Owen road area and the market

However the investigations were unable to pinpoint the exact source of the outbreak to a particular food stall.

During the closure, stallholders and cleaners from Tanjong Pagar Town Council's cleaning contractor will thoroughly clean the market.

This involves disinfecting all dining tables, chairs food preparations surfaces, walls and floors.

NEA will also issue reminders to stall owners to maintain high standards of hygiene.

The market will re-open on Friday (May 27).

MOH and NEA would like to remind the public to seek medical attention if they experience any gastroenteritis symptoms.

For health-related queries, the public can contact MOH on 1800-2254 122.

For feedback on any hygiene lapses, call NEA's 24-hour hotline on 1800-2255 632.

Pizza delivery man allegedly posed as cop to rape girl in Woodlands

A pizza delivery man is on trial for allegedly posing as a policeman and raping a then-16-year-old girl at a staircase landing at Block 359, Woodlands Avenue 5 on Oct 9, 2013.

Muhammad Firman Jumali Chew, now 30, faces three charges - one count each of rape, sexual assault by penetration and posing as a policeman.

According to the prosecution's opening address on Tuesday (May 24), the girl and her boyfriend, then also 16, were making out at a staircase landing on the 11th storey of nearby Block 362.

The boy allegedly spotted Firman hiding behind a wall at the stairwell one storey above so they left.

Firman, who is married with a child, approached them as they were waiting for a lift and allegedly identified himself as a cop.

He is then said to have lured the girl to a nearby block before forcing her to perform oral sex on him and raping her.

Deputy Public Prosector Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz told the court the girl believed he was a cop and feared he would inform the police, her parents and her school about her sexual activities with her boyfriend.

Get the full story in our print edition (May 25).

Subscribe to The New Paper in print and digital at www.tinyurl.com/getTNP

 

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