Monday, December 20, 2010

Flouting of traffic rules

Tan How Chuan wrote to the Straits Times Forum to suggest that the Police should penalise drivers who cause rear end collisions. He lamented the lack of enforcement action by the Police on drivers who float the traffic rules and engage in tailgating.

I agree with him. Many Singapore drivers have bad habits. They are impatient, sound the horn unnecessary and tailgate.

I observe that there are insufficient policemen on the road. It could be due to a desire to reduce the cost of the public sector. This is a short sighted measure. In a well managed society, there should be a certain ratio of policemen to the population. If the population increases, we need more policemen. The exception is when the people behaves well, reducing the need for policing. I do not see any evidence of such a good trend.

The situation is made worse when the top civil servants are rewarded on a KPI which includes the ability to reduce manpower cost, without regard to the negative impact on society. I wonder if this could be a reason?

Another possibility explanation is the inability to recruit people to take up the job of policemen, especially if it involves outdoor work. I know that many people aspire to join the banks or enter the financial sector, or even to take up jobs as property or insurance agents. They are able to earn more from these jobs, even though they do not add value to the wealth of the economy, except to help inflate asset bubbles.

Quite likely, it is a combination of both factors.

I expect the standard of safety and low crime rate to deteriorate in the future. This will be sad trend, as Singapore had the quality of being clean, green and safe - and they are now disappearing. Already, we are seeing criminal gang activities among the young. I suspect that the actual crime situation is worse than what has been reported in the newspapers.

Tan Kin Lian


symmetrix said...

At one time the Traffic Police used to outsource traffic enforcement to companies like Aetos and Cisco. I don't see many of them on the roads today. Perhaps this outsourcing exercise did not save the Traffic Police much expenses.

The Traffic Police should seek out more sub-contractors to help them in their policing work.

Unknown said...

Dear Mr. Tan, interesting view on the ratio of policement to population. If I recall correctly, 20% of population in Singapore are non-citizen. What is your view on including this in the ratio when policemen can only be Singaporean?
In future I will expect the number of non-citizen to increase, so just imagine what will happen.
We punish littering with fines, corrective work you see it improving? Human nature and graciousness is not something that can be corrected by having more poilicemen or laws or rules. It is more on local culture and sad to say Singapore has been building such cultures for years since independent but trying to grow GDP, economics and globalization somehow has created these challenges and derial such culture because we now have to struggle to integrate foreign cultures. Not sure we are integrating them to our preferred culture or we have to adapt to theirs? God knows then...

yujuan said...

Now it is a joy to see a traffic policeman in his smart uniform riding his bike on the road, it is so rare a sight.
Meantime small cars and motorbikes get bullied , the cat is not around that rats may as well have a field day.

Tan Choon Hong said...

Driving will be less vexing if motorists follow one simple rule: lead, follow or get out of the way.

Leaders set the pace, speeding or slowing according to the road situation. Followers keep a safe distance behind, but always going with the flow. Drivers who can neither lead nor follow, should simply get out of the way. Don’t let ego get in the way instead.

This is not practical at rush hour as all the lanes are utilised making everyone a follower. Here it is important to go with the flow by keeping up with the vehicle in front. There is no point tailgating to intimidate the guy in front because the most one can gain is a couple of car-lengths or seconds. Not worth getting into an accident and losing several days.

The problem is in the extreme left lane. It is follow the slowpokes as they have nowhere to get out of the way. Perhaps they should become passengers or stay home.

Lye Khuen Way said...

Here I go again !
1) We have too few visible LAWMAN !
2) How the LTA train/issue Driving Licence as compared to say, 30 years ago need review,
3)When very dark tinted windscreen/ side windows/rear window are allowed. I only could see the consequences... Can I add that was a prerequiste for the 2 IRs ?
4)With the light-touch enforcement regarding Accident Reporting & our Insurance industry reputation, what can we expect.
5) Motor cycles & Bicycles are , in my opinion, no longer in LTA's book as Road-users. Just look at the lanes' width. Nevermind the left-most lane that can hardly accomodate a REAL Bus/ Truck.

6) Lastly, is there any use calling LTA to provide "feedback" or "complaints" ? I have given up ! The Transport Ministor or LTA boss may want to spent a whole day driving in my car ! ( I will apply annual leave and will not claim for petrol. Just record and procecute those unfortunate enough to cross my path .)

veronika said...

Well, we have drivers who use their phones while driving. There are also drivers who seem to refer to GPS all the time.. its like a new toy..
( GPS? in Singapore? think about it)
And more drivers who simply enjoy the peace and silence of the interior of their cars or the music and forget that the ECP/BKE/TPE/PIE is not the same as the Northern Highway in Australia where there is hundreds of kilometers of nothing.

Inconsiderate and poor driving habits.. that is the Singapore driver..

If you drive in India, Bangkok or Jakarta, the drivers there are much more yielding and permissive.
Here, they take every opportunity to grind you down, irritate, annoy and simply loutish behaviour.. even when not driving!

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