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Fine, 4.5-year ban for driver who made discretionary turn and caused accident with drunk motorcyclist

SINGAPORE — A retiree was on Thursday (Sept 16) fined S$5,000 and banned from driving for four-and-a-half years after a collision with a motorcyclist during a discretionary right turn.

Ong Chong Peng did not see motorcyclist Yee Wen Heng approaching even though it was within plain sight and only stopped midway through the turn when he saw Yee, but by then he had already encroached onto Yee's path.

Ong Chong Peng did not see motorcyclist Yee Wen Heng approaching even though it was within plain sight and only stopped midway through the turn when he saw Yee, but by then he had already encroached onto Yee's path.

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  • Ong Chong Peng was making a discretionary right turn when he saw a motorcyclist approaching
  • He stopped, but the motorcyclist could not brake in time and collided with his car, sustaining fractures
  • The motorcyclist was later fined and given a one-year riding ban for operating his vehicle while drunk
  • Both the prosecution and Ong’s lawyer sought the fine imposed

 

 

SINGAPORE — A retiree was on Thursday (Sept 16) fined S$5,000 and banned from driving for four-and-a-half years after a collision with a motorcyclist during a discretionary right turn.

Ong Chong Peng, 64, pleaded guilty to his role in the accident in September 2019 and was handed the maximum fine for causing grievous hurt by a negligent act.

The victim Yee Wen Heng, 37, was in November 2019 fined S$1,000 and given a one-year riding ban after confessing to operating his motorcycle while drunk.

He had fallen off his motorbike and sustained many fractures.

Yee was riding to work on Sept 8, 2019 at about 7.20pm when he approached a traffic junction between Choa Chu Kang Way and Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3.

He had the right of way since the traffic light was green, the court heard.

He had just downed a bottle of beer. The authorities later found that there was 90mg of alcohol per 100ml of his blood, exceeding the prescribed limit of 80mg per 100ml.

Ong reached the junction and started to turn right without keeping a proper lookout.

Such junctions do not have turning signals, allowing motorists to make right turns at their own discretion and judgement when there is no opposing traffic or pedestrians crossing the road.

Ong did not see Yee’s motorcycle approaching even though it was within plain sight.

Midway through the turn, Ong stopped when he saw Yee, but he had already encroached onto the motorcyclist’s path.

Yee applied the emergency brakes to avoid a collision but lost control of his motorcycle and fell to his right.

He skidded down the road and struck the right side of the front of Ong’s car.

Footage of the accident from Ong’s in-car camera was played in the courtroom.

Yee was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong, having suffered a cut on his cheek as well as fractures and abrasions.

He had surgery, was discharged five days later and given about a week of medical leave.

Based on a medical report, he could have permanent disability that includes numbness in his nose and scars over the cut and abrasion sites.

Transport Minister S Iswaran said on Tuesday that there were an average of about 430 accidents at traffic junctions with discretionary turns yearly in the past five years.

Motorcyclists were involved in around 40 per cent of these accidents, the minister said in a written answer to a parliamentary question.

MOTORCYCLIST TURNED DOWN COMPENSATION

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Benedict Teong and Ong’s lawyer Marshall Lim of Invictus Law Corporation both sought the fine imposed.

The prosecutor disclosed that Ong had received 10 composition fines for speeding between 1991 and 2015.

DPP Teong acknowledged, though, that Ong had proceeded at the traffic junction “quite carefully” and that it was largely a misjudgement on his part.

He also took into account Ong’s plea of guilt.

In mitigation, Mr Lim said that his client spent more than 30 years in the public service before retiring and continues contributing as a consultant to the National Environment Agency.

He also noted that Ong had tried to drive with utmost care when turning right and it was clear from the video footage that oncoming traffic was still some distance away when he started making the turn.

“At that very moment, our client was caught between a rock and a hard place. He stopped his vehicle, hoping that Mr Yee would pass in front of him,” Mr Lim said.

“However, Mr Yee lost control of his motorcycle, which resulted in the eventual collision with our client’s stationary vehicle.”

Describing Ong as having been “shocked and shaken” after the incident, Mr Lim said that Ong left his vehicle at once to help Yee and contact the authorities.

Ong offered Yee compensation of S$2,000 but was told last week that Yee had declined it.

The accident has so traumatised Ong that he would likely not drive again after the ban lapses, the lawyer added.

Ong said that he sold his car about four weeks ago.

For causing grievous hurt by a negligent act, he could have received a jail term of up to two years or a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.

Related topics

crime court traffic accident driving ban motorcyclist discretionary right turn

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