Wednesday 23 October 2013

Extra checks on heavy vehicles caught speeding

Owners who fail to go for checks on speed limiters to face jail or fine
By Jalelah Abu Baker, The Straits Times, 22 Oct 2013

HEAVY vehicles caught speeding will have to go through additional inspections to ensure their speed limiters are working properly, in the latest move to improve road safety.

From next month, vehicles caught for the first and second time will have to undergo extra inspections every six months for two years. Those caught for a third time or more will have twice as many inspections - every three months, instead of six.

Vehicle owners who fail to go for the inspections face a maximum fine of $1,000 or up to three months' jail for a first offence.

All heavy vehicles here, including public buses, are required to be installed with speed limiters, which cap the maximum speed to 60kmh by restricting the air and fuel flow to the engine.

Yet there were 1,766 heavy-vehicle speeding violations for Singapore-registered vehicles in the first half of this year, more than triple the 517 from the same period last year. Traffic Police statistics also show that heavy vehicles were involved in about 20 per cent of fatal accidents last year.

Announcing the new move yesterday, Commander of Traffic Police Cheang Keng Keong said it was aimed at improving road safety and reducing fatalities. "It is in the interest of all parties to ensure that the vehicles we use are functioning properly," he said.

The measure is part of a series of initiatives by the Traffic Police under the Safer Roads Singapore action plan, launched in May.

Heavy vehicles, such as tipper trucks and prime movers, include all goods vehicles and public service vehicles with maximum laden weight exceeding 12 tonnes and 10 tonnes respectively.

Mr Or Toh Wat, group managing director of construction firm OKP Holdings, which operates 15 heavy vehicles, said the extra checks could prompt firms to educate their drivers more urgently. "They will feel the pinch because they can't operate their vehicles at the times (of inspection), and it will also inconvenience them."

Each check at one of seven authorised inspection centres costs $90.

Mr Wilson Loh, director of a logistics firm, wondered if the measure would be more effective if drivers, instead of owners, were penalised, as they are the ones who sometimes tamper with speed limiters. His firm has monthly checks to prevent this.

MP Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC), who has been championing heavy-vehicle road safety after a concrete mixer hit and killed two brothers in Tampines in January, told The Straits Times that it may be more effective to get firms to keep a continuing record of their speed limiters. Drivers, he noted, may be able to put their tampered speed limiters back to normal for the inspections.

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