Friday, January 29, 2016

Take safety measures; incorporate survival and crisis skills for all drivers: An open letter to The Home Affairs & Transport Ministers; and other Government leaders

Friday 29th January 2016
Last week, a mother and daughter were killed in a car accident after their car plunged into a canal.
It is so sad that despite Mr Robin Poon’s wife and daughter both surviving life-threatening illnesses, both of them died in a most tragic manner, leaving him to go through enormous emotional pain ( “A stupid accident that shouldn’t have happened”) The New Paper on Tuesday , Jan 26).
Losing a loved one in a tragedy is painful enough, but it is even more devastating when two immediate relatives die at the same time in an accident that is mind boggling.
Even though he has two relatives who are was probably his whole world, Mr Robin Poon can be comforted to know that he has been a loving and dedicated husband to his wife and a doting father to his only daughter. 
Undoubtedly, grief will take a long time to heal, so we must all rally around and support those who struggle to find answers.
Although this accident could be a remote one, it would be prudent to heed the advice of experts by installing bollards at areas where there are risks of drivers getting into accidents, as suggested by Mr Lee Swee Thin who was the former officer in charge of the Road Safety Branch of the Traffic Police in the late 80s’. 
Then, we should take the advice of commercial driving expert Edwin Yeo who believes that it if a driver is trapped inside a car underwater, the best course of action would be to remain calm and wait for the water to fill the car so that the pressure inside and outside the vehicle will make it easier to open the car door and make the escape.
Perhaps, it is time for the Traffic Police to make it compulsory for all driving instructors to include survival and crisis skills to all drivers, including  those  who transport passengers on public transport so that during any accident, lives can be saved or reclaimed. 
This accident could be a signal for worse things to come, so we must plan carefully, build the necessary infrastructure and provide the compulsory training so that our drivers are well equipped to handle any crisis.
Imagine a busload of school children or 100 or more passengers on board a public bus being thrown into a river or canal if such safety measures are not put in place.
A friend of mine told me that a bus load of children traveling on a bus in America some time ago, were all killed when the vehicle plunged into a sea.
It is prudent to have foresights to plan for any crisis – no matter how remote it may be.
Whenever we travel out station – either on a plane or on cruise, live demonstrations by the crew and videos creatively produced guide passengers on what to do during a crisis.  It is most helpful. A similar programme could be used for our public transport systems.  I am sure the authorities would look at the cost involved, but I fervently believe that we should not tag everything to dollars and cents – especially when lives could be a stake.
The media has been doing a good job in raising awareness of mental health issues and other social problems; hence it must continue to support submissions and suggestions that will, in the long run, be beneficial to all our people. To make Singapore the best home to live in, the government has to make sure that this tiny little red dot is a safe haven for one and all.



1 comment:

rayhope said...

Reply from The Ministry of Transport:

Ref: 20160201-0458

Dear Mr Fernando,

We refer to your email dated 29 January 2016 to Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure & Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan. Minister has read your email and requested that I reply on his behalf.

We note your suggestions on 1) bollards at risk-prone areas and 2) safety information video on public transport. We take a serious view in your feedback and have conveyed it to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for its attention and consideration.

Thank you for taking the time to write in.

Yours sincerely

Cecilia Du (Ms)

For Quality Service Manager

Ministry of Transport