Friday, 17 February 2017

New speed cameras tracking motorists over a distance to be introduced in 2018

Average Speed Camera (ASC) to be introduced to 'shape' motorists' road behaviour
By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, The Straits Times, 16 Feb 2017

A new speed camera system will be introduced early next year along the new Tanah Merah Coast Road with the hopes of "shaping" motorists' behaviour and making them more conscious of speeding.

The Average Speed Camera (ASC) calculates a vehicle's average speed by tracking it on radar when it enters a monitoring zone, the Traffic Police (TP) said yesterday.

The technology used in the ASC can distinguish between a lorry and a sedan car based on its radar signature, and tell if the vehicle has been travelling over its assigned speed limit or the road's speed limit.

But the TP commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) of Police Sam Tee, said: "I want to emphasise the point that TP deploys our enforcement cameras based on a risk assessment.

"Where there are speeding-related accidents and danger zones, this is where we will consider (using enforcement cameras)."

The ASC will be deployed at Tanah Merah Coast Road because the new road is heavily used by lorries, delivery trucks and even cyclists on the weekends, he said.

He added that deployment of the ASC on other roads would need to be studied first.

SAC Tee also said the use of enforcement cameras may vary from fixed-speed cameras to mobile ones, adding that it depends on "whichever will give us an effective way to shape motorists' behaviour".

The extensive public education on speed camera enforcement efforts may have contributed to a dip in the number of speeding-related accidents and violations as reported in the TP annual report, Traffic Situation 2016.

The number of speeding-related accidents dropped by 10.4 per cent, from 1,206 accidents in 2015 to 1,081 last year. The number of speeding violation cases also fell by 7.8 per cent, from 186,838 in 2015 to 172,192 last year.

The use of the ASC by countries such as Britain, New Zealand and Australia have shown positive outcomes, transport engineering consultant A.P. Gopinath Menon told The Straits Times.

Mr Menon said: "Studies have shown that the use of ASC is effective because speeding incidents have dropped. There is also a drop in speed-related accident cases. But the studies can't attribute accidents solely to speeding as there are other factors.

"Motorists will now know (when travelling in a zone monitored by an ASC) that they need to be more careful and vigilant in keeping to the speed limit."

Annual Road Traffic Situation 2016: Traffic death rate drops to lowest since 1981
But elderly pedestrians are a concern as they were involved in more accidents last year
By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, The Straits Times, 16 Feb 2017

The number of deaths and fatal traffic accidents dropped last year compared with 2015, the Traffic Police said yesterday.

In fact, its annual report, Road Traffic Situation 2016, shows that last year's death rate per 100,000 persons, which fell to 2.51 from 2.73 in 2015, was the lowest since 1981. The number of deaths dropped from 151 in 2015 to 141 last year.

While there were improvements in areas such as deaths due to drink-driving and speeding violations, the biggest concern was elderly pedestrians.

Accidents involving them went up by 19.6 per cent, from 224 in 2015 to 268 last year. Correspondingly, the number of elderly pedestrians dying in accidents rose by 21.7 per cent, from 23 in 2015 to 28 last year.

Traffic Police commander Sam Tee said the police are committed to working together with other government agencies to educate the elderly on road dangers and how to use the roads safely. "To me, it is a big concern because we are an ageing population," he said.

Of the 28 deaths last year, 16 were attributed to jaywalking, while 12 were killed when motorists crashed into them despite the pedestrians having the right of way.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Tee said: "We really need to remind all motorists to look out for the elders in general. More so when they are in areas where the congregation of the elders is much higher, like in the Silver Zones."

To take the road safety message to elderly pedestrians, an initiative called the Road Master Test Kit was launched in November last year. It aims to educate elderly pedestrians, while engaging family members to remind them not to jaywalk.

So far, more than 1,000 of these kits, which assess seniors' eyesight, hearing and reaction time, have been distributed.

Some 110 seniors' activity corners have been identified as places to engage the elderly and distribute the kits at the same time.

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay, who is in his 60s, said some people may forget that they are ageing.

"A lot of old people, including myself, do not notice when our hearing and eyesight deteriorate. The kit is useful and important to confirm if you need to be more careful on the roads," he said.

Collecting his kit yesterday was Redhill resident William Chua, who said that in taking shortcuts, he ends up jaywalking. But he admits his confidence in doing so is reduced as his reflexes are slower owing to ageing.

The 67-year-old said: "I am going to use this kit and treat it like a game where I can involve my three grandchildren. We can all remind one another of road safety because sometimes, old people forget they are no longer quick on their feet."

The kits can also be redeemed at a dispenser by using senior citizen concession ez-link cards.

From today, the dispenser is at Bishan Street 22, opposite the Bishan North Shopping Mall.

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