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Road fatalities in Singapore surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2023

Singapore’s road fatalities rose by 25.9% in 2023 to 136 deaths, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Traffic Police to enhance enforcement, targeting speeding, drink-driving, and red-light violations.



Fatal accident along slip road leading to Seletar West Link of the Central Expressway on 11 August 2023 (Shin Min Reader)

Singapore witnessed a distressing increase in road fatalities in 2023, with 136 lives lost, marking a significant 25.9% rise from the 108 deaths recorded in 2022 and the highest since 2017.

This alarming figure not only surpasses the pre-pandemic death toll of 118 in 2019 but also highlights a growing concern over road safety in the city-state.

The Traffic Police’s (TP) annual statistical report, released on Tuesday (20 Feb), reveals a concerning uptick in fatal accidents involving speeding, drink-driving, and running red lights.

Motorcyclists and their pillion riders constitute half of the total road fatalities, whereas nearly 20% of the deceased were elderly pedestrians, underscoring their vulnerability on the roads.

Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Daniel Tan expressed the TP’s deep concern over the escalating numbers.

“The rise in road fatalities, particularly among motorcyclists, pillion riders, and elderly pedestrians, is alarming. These groups are among the most vulnerable on our roads,” SAC Tan stated.

In response, the TP has announced plans to enhance enforcement measures, including integrating speed enforcement with red light cameras starting the next quarter.

Further analysis of the report indicates a significant increase in accidents due to motorists’ failure to maintain a proper lookout, control their vehicle adequately, or change lanes with due care. Despite the lack of detailed offence breakdowns, this trend points to prevalent irresponsible driving behaviours.

To combat this, the TP will increase fines and demerit points for specific traffic offences, details of which will be disclosed later in the year.

The statistics are stark: speeding-related fatal accidents surged by 83.3%, from 18 cases in 2022 to 33 in 2023, leading to 37 deaths—an 85% increase from the previous year’s 20 fatalities.

Although the number of speeding violations detected by traffic cameras decreased, those caught by other police enforcement efforts rose by 22%.

“This discrepancy suggests that speed cameras effectively deter speeding, but motorists tend to speed in areas they believe are unmonitored,” the TP commented.

To address this, speed enforcement capabilities will be added to red light cameras across Singapore, aiming to deter speeding in areas currently without static speed cameras.

Despite a slight increase in drink-driving cases—from 175 in 2022 to 180 in 2023—and a corresponding rise in fatal drink-driving accidents, there was a notable decrease in red-light violations. However, fatal accidents resulting from running red lights increased from three in 2022 to eight in 2023.

SAC Tan emphasized the importance of shared road responsibility, urging all road users to practice patience and courtesy by giving way to others.

“Insisting on one’s right of way is not conducive to road safety. We must work together to create safer roads for everyone,” he concluded.

Traffic Enforcement Camera Installation Costs Revealed

Following a parliamentary inquiry, it was revealed by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Law, in response to a question from Mr Leong Mun Wai, a Non-constituency Member of Parliament of Progress Singapore Party, on 6 February, that the installation of traffic enforcement cameras by the Singapore Traffic Police is associated with costs ranging from S$100,000 to S$170,000 each.

Mr Leong’s query concerned the expense involved in setting up a traffic enforcement camera at a signalized intersection and whether there were plans to increase the number of cameras to catch red-light violators.

Minister Shanmugam clarified in his written reply that the cost of installing a new camera system can vary significantly depending on site-specific conditions.

He also highlighted that the Traffic Police adopt a risk-based approach in deploying these cameras, focusing on locations with a higher propensity for accidents and traffic violations.

“The Traffic Police assess the road situation carefully and will proceed to install such cameras where justified,” stated the Minister.

As per a 2017 report by OpenGov, Assistant Commissioner Sam Tee noted that the deployment of current fixed cameras requires about six months, indicating the significant logistical and financial planning involved in enhancing road safety measures.

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no wonder they removed road fatalities and dying from medical reasons from having to do an autopsy on the body. I guess some people can see the future.