Last year, two fatal accidents made the authorities review the discretionary right turn system.
The first happened on 19 April 2018, when four NUS undergraduates took a Premier taxi from Clementi Mall back to NUS. When the taxi needed to make a right turn, it did so without ensuring that it was safe to do so, which led to a collision from a straight-moving car.
Ms Kathy Ong died from the accident while all the other passengers, including the driver, were severely injured. In a video that was circulated widely, Ms Ong could be seen partially thrown out of the window.
Three days later, another passenger died when the car she was in made a right turn from Jalan Anak Bukit to PIE, and an SMRT bus hit the car. For this traffic light, according to my colleague, the discretionary right turn has been removed, and now cars can only turn right when there is a green arrow.
Today (17 July 2019), the 55-year-old taxi driver, Mr Yap Kok Hua, pleaded guilty to a charge of a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide and a second charge of causing grievous hurt to the surviving three passengers.
Taxi Driver Has Bad Driving Records
According to the prosecutor, Yap had a bad driving record and had repeatedly committed traffic offences from 1992 to 2016. The offences include careless driving, speeding and failing to conform to a red light signal (i.e. run red light).
But he still “decided to approach traffic safety with the same nonchalance as he had in the past.”
However, his last conviction for careless driving was almost eight years ago.
And here’s a new info that was revealed today: the car that had a right of way was speeding.
Car Going Straight Speeding
According to reports, the car that was going straight is a Nissan Presage, a large seven-seater. It was driven by 21-year-old Ng Li Ning.
While he has the right of way, he was going at about 92kmh to 97kmh. The road has a speed limit of 70kmh.
Yap’s lawyers claimed that according to a Health Science Authority report, the collision could have been avoided if the Nissan Presage had been going at 70kmh instead of up to 97kmh.
The Deputy Public Prosecutor had asked for at least eight weeks’ jail and a five-year driving ban, while Yap’s lawyers asked for less than six weeks’ jail and a driving ban that’s less than five years.
The sentencing would be known on 2 August 2019.
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