Uber passenger killed, driver arrested after accident along Xilin Avenue

Uber passenger killed, driver arrested after accident along Xilin Avenue
Published: 9:50 PM, July 9, 2017
Updated: 11:52 AM, July 10, 2017

SINGAPORE — A 31-year-old man believed to be Filipino died on Sunday (July 9) after the Uber vehicle he was in skidded and careered into a tree on Xilin Avenue. The 22-year-old male driver was unhurt and arrested for causing death by a negligent act.

The police told TODAY they were alerted to the accident at the slip road into East Coast Parkway, towards the Marina Coastal Expressway, at 7.29am.

The passenger was found lying motionless, and paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force pronounced him dead at the scene. Investigations are in progress.

When TODAY contacted the Philippine Embassy, an employee manning its emergency hotline said the office was closed, but the embassy had received a call from the police.

“We haven’t talked to anybody — the employer or somebody (else),” said the staff member, adding that the embassy will look into it today.

In response to TODAY’s queries, Uber said it was “extremely saddened to hear about this tragic accident”.

“Our thoughts are with all the deceased’s family,” its spokesperson added.

“We’re doing what we can to support them and stand ready to cooperate with the authorities in their investigations.”

Sunday’s accident is not the first fatal one involving a private-hire vehicle here.

Last September, Goh Pei Ling, 18, who was travelling with her sister-in-law, was killed after the Uber vehicle they were in crashed into a stationary lorry and van on the Seletar Expressway.

At the wheel was Saddam Hussein Norazman, 23, who was sentenced in February to six weeks’ jail and barred from driving for five years for causing Goh’s death and injuring the van driver.

In November, pedestrian Ng Sock Ching died after an Uber vehicle knocked her down at a pedestrian crossing in Hougang. In March, the driver Pang Kim Suen, 62, was handed a S$7,000 fine and a five-year driving ban.

Earlier this year, the General Insurance Association of Singapore said the number of motor-accident reports climbed nearly 8 per cent last year to an eight-year high, despite a falling vehicle population.

Its president A K Cher had said that while there was no “conclusive evidence”, the association suspected the spike could be because of the higher number of private-hire cars on the road.

As part of a licensing regime announced in April last year to regulate the private-hire car sector, drivers must undergo a 10-hour course, among other things, before they can qualify for a Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence.

Singapore Road Safety Council chairman Bernard Tay said on Sunday that the syllabus should put a greater focus on driving competency. “The important thing is the safety aspect,” he told TODAY.

He noted that private-hire firms were new to the market compared to their taxi counterparts: “Most of (the cabbies) are full-time drivers, and these (requirements) have been in place (since a) long time ago, so they know exactly what they’re doing for taxi drivers.”

But Mr Tay said he was sure that the authorities would tweak the rules to improve road safety if accidents involving private-hire cars continue to rise.