Road safety in Singapore

By Murray Bourne, 04 Jun 2007

The local Straits Times recently had an article about road deaths in Singapore. It said:

Singapore has among the worst road fatality records among developed countries.

In 2005, 2.3 deaths were logged for every 10,000 vehicles, compared with 0.8 in Japan and 1.8 in the United States.

Safety stats are interesting because:

  • It has human implications
  • It is always relative and may or may not be reported properly.

The dilemma is always whether we should compare the fatalities to:

  • The number of cars
  • The total number of vehicles
  • The total number of km travelled
  • A combination, where we multiply the number of vehicles by the number of km travelled

It makes a difference. In Japan, I am not surprised that the rate is low. Traffic speeds in Japan are low because of narrow and crowded roads. In Australia, the figure of 1.2 is somewhere between Japan and Singapore. The distances and speeds travelled by Australians will be generally higher than both Japan and Singapore, given the spread out nature of Australia's cities.

In 2006, there were 190 deaths on the roads in Singapore.

Malaysia (4.1 fatalities/10,000 vehicles) and Thailand (5.0 fatalities/10,000 vehicles) had the worst road safety records of the countries mentioned in the report. Both countries have large numbers of motorcycles, which could be a contributing factor. Malaysian drivers are something else. I get on fine when I drive there - I give everyone plenty of room. The tuk-tuks in Thailand go at breakneck speeds and can be really scary.

How to reduce accidents in Singapore? The recent crackdown on safety belts was a good start. Now to do something about chronic lane weaving (with no indication included) and cutting in...

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