More mirrors for buses and heavy vehicles

More mirrors for buses and heavy vehicles
Advisor to Jurong GRC Grassroots Organisations, Mr Desmond Lee, sits in a vehicle with the new blind spot mirrors (top right and bottom right), which the LTA will require heavy goods vehicles to install from the second quarter of this year

Buses and heavy goods vehicles will have to be retrofitted with additional blind spot mirrors to give their drivers a better view of pedestrians and cyclists on the road.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will enforce the change through regular inspections from Oct 1.

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Health Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said at a community event yesterday that the changes came after the Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Committee studied safety standards in other countries, including Japan.

"Having additional mirrors in larger vehicles can expand the drivers' field of vision and reduce their blind spots," he said.

The number of fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles increased by one to 44 from 2013 to last year, according to Traffic Police data.

In December 2013, three-year-old Kryshan Nirmal Kumar was fatally knocked over by a private bus at a cemetery. The bus driver claimed he did not see the boy standing near the front of the vehicle.

In January that same year, two brothers were killed by a truck in Tampines. Nigel Yap, 13, was cycling across the road with his brother Donavan, 7, who was riding pillion, when the driver hit them.

The new rule will affect about 18,600 heavy vehicles such as tankers, concrete mixers and tipper trucks, and 8,300 buses.

They have till Oct 1 to install the additional mirrors.

Those unable to retrofit their vehicles can instead install a special lens - called a fresnel - that bends light.

Buses will also have to be equipped with mirrors to allow drivers to view blind spots on the left and front of the bus.

The LTA said heavy goods vehicles and buses typically have higher windscreens and window sills "and therefore have blind spots below the windscreen and at the passenger door".

Currently, only two rear-view mirrors - one on each side of the vehicle - are required in heavy goods vehicles. With the change, they will have at least four mirrors.

New vehicles registered from April 1 will have to make sure that they have at least the same number of mirrors.

Truck driver Michael Koh, 27, said the mirrors are a good idea.

"We can check blind spots but more mirrors also mean a higher chance of sunlight getting into our eyes, affecting our vision," said Mr Koh, who works at CI Movers.

Yesterday, Associate Professor Faishal also launched a Silver Zone at Jurong West Street 52 to make the area safer for older pedestrians.

The 3km long road has been fitted with additional road safety features such as a raised zebra crossing, lowered speed limit and mountable centre dividers.

By March next year, the Republic will have five Silver Zones, including Bukit Merah, Marine Parade, Bedok and Yishun.

awcw@sph.com.sg


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