Hit-and-run cases slowing down

Hit-and-run cases slowing down

Hit-and-run cases in Singapore have fallen in recent years, and a key reason, it seems, is the worry of being caught on video.

There were 136 reported hit-and-run cases last year and the year before. But these numbers were a drop of nearly 11 per cent from the 152 cases in 2012. In 2011, there were 163 cases.

Road safety experts believe the drop could be down to more people installing cameras in their cars and motorcycles, including those which continue to record when vehicles are parked.

Some of these videos also make it online in name-and-shame tactics on sites such as the Singapore Reckless Drivers on Facebook.

In 2013, Traffic Police said they also noticed a surge in the number of accident videos they received from the public. By the end of that year, they had received around 1,000 of these clips.

Experts say cases of motorists speeding away after an accident should fall further with new laws which took effect this month.

Motorists involved in an accident now have to take reasonable steps to provide their particulars to the owner of the damaged vehicle, even when no one is around to ask for it.

The penalty is a maximum fine of $3,000 or 12 months in jail for first-time offenders.

Insurers here have urged more motorists to install in-vehicle cameras to protect themselves in hit-and-run cases.

The General Insurance Association of Singapore said the videos will allow culprits to be identified, in a bid to get them to pay for the damage.

Even when the offenders fail to be identified, the videos could help prove that the vehicle owner was not at fault. And this would help owners hold on to their insurance discount.

Aviva Singapore head of General Insurance Pan Jing Long said: "Witness statements and in-car cameras are ways to help protect drivers to prove that they are not at fault."

According to Aviva, about 2 per cent of motor claims submitted last year were for hit-and-run cases.

Singapore Safety Driving Centre operations manager Gerard Pereira pointed out that in-vehicle cameras are probably the only aid to motorists in such accidents.

He said: "During an incident, the affected driver is usually in a daze. With a camera installed in the car, you may get the registration number of the vehicle."

Mrs Lily Sim, 76, was in a car driven by her 81-year-old husband two weeks ago when they heard a loud bang from the right side.

A light blue van had hit them on the East Coast Parkway before the Xilin Avenue exit, while sliding into their lane.

The van sped off, and the couple gave chase.

"He was zigzagging past vehicles, cars, lorries, and even drove in between two lorries on adjacent lanes," she said.

The couple lost sight of the van after 10 minutes, but their 15-year-old granddaughter in the rear seat managed to take a picture of the vehicle's licence plate.

A police report was later made.

Mr Pereira strongly advised motorists against chasing down culprits, saying it could lead to a more serious accident.


This article was first published on Feb 7, 2015.
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