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Tough penalties for ‘wrong-way’ drivers

The Traffic Police (TP) are looking to leverage technology such as cameras to catch motorists who drive against the flow of traffic.

And anyone caught wilfully doing so will be dealt with severely, TP Commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SAC) Sam Tee said yesterday.

This announcement comes after seven such cases were reported between Dec 28 and Jan 7.

One of them involved a 30-year-old man who allegedly drove his red BMW sports car against the flow of traffic on the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) at 1.25am on Jan 5.

The driver, who was arrested and had his car impounded the next day, is expected to be charged with dangerous driving today. He is also being investigated for drink driving.

This happened less than a month after a Mercedes-Benz barrelled down the AYE in the wrong direction, killing a motorist and injuring three others on Dec 19.

But SAC Tee told a press conference at TP headquarters yesterday that cases of vehicles going against the flow of traffic at high speed on an expressway were uncommon.

He noted there were 118 cases of reckless or dangerous driving in the first nine months of last year, down from 189 in the same period in 2015.

Not all of them were related to driving against the flow of traffic. Investigations found that most drivers who drove against the flow of traffic had done so unintentionally, he said.

TRIGGER

Addressing the seven incidents reported in under two weeks, SAC Tee said: “There is probably a trigger (from) the tragic AYE case that reminds and encourages people to send (footage) to us.

“But the key point is whether it was intentional or unintentional.”

For example, one of the seven cases involved an elderly driver who mistakenly turned right into the wrong lane and ended up driving his black Mercedes against the flow of traffic along Bedok North Street 1 on Dec 28, said Superintendent Lionel Bok, who heads TP’s investigation branch.

Investigations did find that the driver of a white Subaru that was filmed going against traffic and allegedly running a red light at Orchid Club Road on Saturday had done so wilfully, said Supt Bok.

Stern action will be taken against him, said SAC Tee, even though a man identifying himself as the driver has posted an apology on Facebook.

SAC Tee also said that TP are looking at technology such as cameras that can detect vehicles moving against traffic to complement their officers.

They are in the midst of determining where and how best to use them.

TP have checked the roads where the seven cases occurred and are working with the Land Transport Authority to make safety improvements, such as possibly posting more road signs.

SAC Tee advised anyone who has information about such incidents to quickly report to the police via their e-feedback channel and send in footage, if any.

Motorists convicted of dangerous driving can be jailed up to a year and fined up to $3,000. Subsequent offenders can be jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

rloh@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Jan 12, 2016.
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