Causes of road traffic accidents in Singapore

Getting into a car accident is something every driver wants to avoid. It can lead to unwanted consequences such as permanent injuries, loss of earnings, facing heft fines, suspension of license and probably the worst of all - death. 

While some of these car accident causes may seem very obvious and redundant to experienced drivers, this list aims to inform and educate drivers of all levels. From the 18 year old who just passed his Traffic Police test and is grinning from ear to ear while waiting for his driver’s license to be issued, to the 60 year old man who has been driving for a good 40 years. 

Firstly, it’s important to note that most accidents are caused by human error. 

According to the Singapore Traffic Police statistics, the number of road traffic accidents resulting in injuries in 2018 was 7,690 - which is an average of 21 accidents per day. The number of fatal accidents increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. In 2017 the figure stood at 117, and it rose slightly to 120 in 2018. In this 120 fatal accident figure, there were 124 fatalities. (120 accident cases, resulting in 124 deaths). 

So what are some of the causes of road traffic accidents based on the Traffic Police Road Accident Report?

Drink Driving 

Every driver knows you shouldn't do it, as it is irresponsible behaviour, inconsiderate to other road users and most of all - it’s illegal. While Singapore has seen a decrease in the number of drink driving arrests (2,002 arrests in 2018), the number of drink driving accidents increased by 17.3% to 176 cases in 2018. 

The Traffic Police will be continue to take tough enforcement action against drink drivers - which is something we applaud as drink drivers are a huge road hazard. Especially when we see cases of families losing their loved ones due to the irresponsible actions by a drunk driver, we hope to see the number of drink driving cases reduce drastically since the police announced stricter penalties against errant drivers

Running Red Lights

The number of red light violations increased to 53,910 cases in 2018, up from 46,599 cases in 2017. This averages out to about 148 cases of beating the red light daily in Singapore. Running the red light is extremely dangerous because other vehicles are moving off from their stationary positions right into your path. While it’s common sense to slow down and stop as you approach a red light, it seems that some drivers simply do not care (or are not aware?) that the traffic light has turned red. 

Other than these 2 causes above, it’s also important to practice other safe traffic behaviour, such as using your signals, driving within the speed limits, and not using your phone while driving. These things can be seen as very minor to trivial, but you have to remember that you are driving a 1 to 2 ton machine. Even at low speeds, it can cause serious damage to other objects and pedestrians.

Which brings us to our next point - vulnerable road users. Who are they? 

  1. Elderly Jaywalkers

  2. Motorcycle/Pillion Riders

While the number of accidents involving elderly jaywalkers has reduced to 259 cases in 2018 from 276 cases in 2017, they remain a group of concern as this demographic accounts for 25% of all accidents involving pedestrians. For drivers - slow down if you see pedestrians by the roadside ! You can never be too sure of their next action. While most pedestrians have road common sense and wait for the road to be clear before crossing, some of them might be rushing and will make a dash for it, as they think they have enough time to cross before the car reaches them. The elderly may also not walk as quickly as younger people, so as drivers we should account for this and give them more time to cross the roads by slowing down and keeping a proper lookout. 

The number of accidents resulting in injuries involving motorcyclists increased to 4,358 cases in 2018, from 4,270 cases in 2017. This is an average of about 12 motorcycle accident with injury cases per day ! Motorcyclists are a vulnerable group of road users as they do not have the protection of a car’s body in the event of a crash - so drivers have to be more wary around motorcyclists, and motorcyclists should also practice safe riding habits such as using your signals, keeping a proper lookout and not weaving quickly in and out of traffic. 

Stay safe on the roads everyone !