SINGAPORE, Feb 20 — A total of 136 persons died from traffic accidents in 2023, with more fatal accidents caused by red-light running, speeding and drink-driving, the police said today (February 20).

This meant a 25.9 per cent increase from the 108 deaths recorded in 2022, and the latest fatality count was also the highest since 2016, when there were 141 deaths.

The 2023 figure exceeded the pre-Covid-19 level of 118 deaths in 2019, the authority added.

The number of traffic accidents resulting in fatalities also rose last year. There were 131 fatal traffic accidents in 2023, a 26 per cent increase from the 104 cases seen in 2022. In comparison, there were 117 fatal traffic incidents in 2019.

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There was also a significant increase in the number of accidents where the cause was failure on the part of the motorist to keep a proper lookout, failure to have proper control of the vehicle, and changing of lanes without due care, said the police in a media release.

Speaking to the media, the Traffic Police commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Daniel Tan, said tough action will be taken against offenders.

“We will come down hard on road users who blatantly disregard the law. All of us as road users have a part to play in keeping our road safe, and I urge everybody to give a little bit of patience on the road,” he said.

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Overall, the road traffic fatality rate per 100,000 population increased from 1.92 in 2022 to 2.30 in 2023. This means that around two out of every 100,000 people die from a road accident in a year.

The road traffic fatality rate was also at the highest since 2016, when it was 2.51 per 100,000.

As for injuries from traffic accidents, the police said there was a marginal increase in occurrences of 5.8 per cent in 2023, rising from 8,441 cases in 2022 to 8,931 cases last year. The number of accidents involving injuries also went up slightly to 6,944 cases last year, a 2.4 per cent increase from 6,779 cases in 2022.

More red-light running, speeding violations, and drink-driving cases that led to deaths

The number of fatalities in traffic accidents last year rose despite the fact that there were fewer violations involving red-light running, speeding, and drink-driving.

There were also more fatal accidents that arose from red-light running, speeding and drink-driving in 2023 compared to 2022.

Red-light running

  • Violations: 31,815 cases recorded in 2023, down from 44,688 cases in 2022, or a 28.8 per cent drop
  • Accidents: 112 cases in 2023, decreasing by 18.2 per cent from 137 in 2022
  • Fatal accidents: 8 in 2023, up from 3 in 2022

Speeding

  • Violations: 115,705 cases in 2023, dropping from 125,530 cases in the previous year, or a 7.8 per cent decrease
  • Accidents: 624 cases in 2023, down 45.2 per cent from 1,138 cases in 2022
  • Fatal accidents: 33 cases in 2023, surging from the 18 cases seen in 2022

Drink-driving

  • Violations: 1,659 cases in 2023, a slight decrease of 1.9 per cent from 1,691 in 2022
  • Accidents: 180 cases in 2023, marginally higher than the 175 cases in 2022
  • Fatal accidents: There were 11 cases that led to deaths, up slightly from 10 cases in 2022

Motorcyclists and elderly pedestrians most vulnerable

Motorcyclists and elderly pedestrians are the most vulnerable groups of road users, said the police. These road users continue to account for a “disproportionate number” of traffic accidents resulting in injuries or death.

While motorcycles make up only 14.4 per cent of the total vehicle population, motorcyclists or pillion riders were involved in more than half (53.5 per cent) of all traffic accidents in 2023, and accounted for half of traffic fatalities.

Last year, there were 72 fatal accidents involving motorcyclists, a 44 per cent increase from 50 cases in 2022. The number of motorcyclist and pillion rider fatalities also increased by 44.7 per cent, rising from 47 persons in 2022 to 68 persons in 2023.

While the elderly make up about one in five (19.1 per cent) of Singapore’s overall population, they were involved in more than two-thirds (68.4 per cent) of all fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians. The elderly also accounted for 69.2 per cent of pedestrian fatalities, said the police.

Fatal accidents involving elderly pedestrians increased by 13 per cent, from 23 cases in 2022 to 26 cases in 2023. There were 27 elderly pedestrian deaths last year, a 17.4 per cent increase from 23 persons in 2022.

Almost half (46.2 per cent) of fatal accidents involving elderly pedestrians were due to jaywalking, a decrease from 78.3 per cent in 2022.

Stepping up enforcement and education

Given the increase in number of accidents and fatalities, the police said it would take a “tougher enforcement stance” against irresponsible road users.

It noted that last year, violations detected by traffic enforcement cameras had fallen. In contrast, the number of speeding violations detected by other police enforcement operations increased by 22 per cent, from 52,016 cases in 2022 to 63,468 cases in 2023.

“This shows that speed cameras are effective in deterring speeding, and that motorists choose to speed at locations where they think no one is watching,” said the police in a media release on Tuesday.

To deal with this “worrying trend”, the police said it would significantly step up its enforcement efforts against speeding.

Starting from the second quarter of this year, the Traffic Police will progressively activate the speed enforcement function in red light cameras across the island, especially at locations that are “more accident-prone or violation-prone, to improve driver behaviour”, it added.

“Through this measure, the traffic police aims to discourage motorists from speeding even in areas where there are no static speed cameras. We urge motorists to exercise responsibility, drive with care, and respect traffic rules, for their own safety and the safety of their loved ones,” said the police.

The authorities are also working on increasing the composition sums and demerit points for certain traffic offences to “further strengthen deterrence against irresponsible driving behaviours”. More details will be announced later this year, said the police.

In the second half of 2024, the police will also launch a road safety campaign to encourage people to be responsible road users. The campaign will target all road users, and particularly the vulnerable road user groups, it said. — TODAY