SINGAPORE: Fewer people on board lorries were injured or killed in road traffic accidents since safety measures were introduced in 2009 and 2010, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) on Friday (May 7).
In a statement, an LTA spokesperson said the traffic police are currently investigating the two recent accidents involving lorries ferrying passengers. The driver involved in the first case has been arrested for careless driving causing death.
"Internationally, while there are different practices, it is not uncommon for goods vehicles to be used to carry passengers.
"For example, countries such as Canada, Thailand and the USA allow for passengers to be ferried on the rear deck, with varying degree of safety restrictions," said the spokesperson.
He added that in 2009 and 2010, the Government rolled out a series of measures to enhance the safety of workers ferried on lorries.
"Since then, the number of people on board lorries and who were injured or killed in road traffic accidents has been falling."
It added that the accident rates in 2020 were significantly lower for all motor vehicle types due to "lower traffic volumes arising from COVID-19 restrictions".
The charts below, provided by LTA, show the number of people on board lorries and motor vehicles who were injured or killed in road traffic accidents.
The accidents involving lorries include those not ferrying workers, said LTA.
This issue was raised in Parliament in 2010, when regulations requiring the lorries to install canopies and higher side railings were implemented after a review.
According to a Parliament reply in 2010 by former transport minister Raymond Lim, the minimum deck space requirement per seated worker was to be doubled from 4 sq ft to 8 sq ft.
However, arising from further feedback from employers, LTA said in a July 2011 news release that it would “not require a doubling of the minimum deck space per seated worker to 8 sq ft for both light and heavy lorries for the time being”.
Lorries ferrying workers to workplaces are also required to stick to the road speed limit or 60kmh, whichever is lower.
There is also a height restriction for workers seated on the carriage deck, with workers required to be no more than 1.1m above the carriage deck when seated.
LORRY ACCIDENTS IN APRIL
Last month, two migrant workers died after a lorry collided with a stationary tipper truck along the PIE towards Changi Airport at the Jalan Bahar exit. Another 15 workers were injured.
The lorry driver, 36, was arrested for careless driving causing death, police said.
In another accident later that week, 10 men were taken to the hospital after a lorry overturned along Upper Bukit Timah Road.
These accidents have sparked fresh calls for the practice of carrying workers on the back of lorries to be reviewed.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said the minimum deck space requirement per seated worker was doubled from 4 sq ft to 8 sq ft as part of changes introduced in 2010. This is incorrect. While such a proposal was mentioned in Parliament, LTA said in 2011 that, following feedback from employers, it would “not require a doubling of the minimum deck space per seated worker to 8 sq ft for both light and heavy lorries for the time being”. We apologise for the error.