A man who drove his BMW against the flow of traffic along the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) has been jailed four weeks and disqualified from driving for five years.
Brandon Ng Hai Chong, 31, was sentenced in the State Courts on Thursday (8 March) after pleading guilty to one charge of dangerous driving .
The court heard that on the evening of 4 January last year, Ng went drinking with friends at the Arena Country Club on Upper Jurong Road. Ng drank three or four glasses of beer and spent the majority of the evening playing games with bar hostesses.
He left for home at about 1am. Ng’s friend offered to call a valet for him but he declined.
At about 1.24am, Ng was driving along Clementi Ave 6 when he missed a left turn and entered a slip road in the direction of AYE (Tuas). As Ng’s home was located in the opposite direction, he decided to make a U-turn on the expressway to go against the flow of traffic.
At least three vehicles had to switch lanes to avoid colliding with Ng.
Near the slip road into Clementi Ave 2, Ng stopped his vehicle in the first lane, turned on his hazard lights and flashed his high beam at oncoming traffic. At least four vehicles had to dodge Ng at this point.
Ng then made another U-turn along AYE (Tuas) to go with the flow of traffic and drove home.
In total, Ng drove about 2km against the flow of traffic and had been driving at an average speed of 50kmh. The speed limit on this stretch of the AYE is 90kmh.
Upon reaching home, Ng’s wife noticed that he smelled strongly of alcohol. Ng asked his wife about his daughter, who was feeling feverish that night, then went to sleep.
The police received three calls from members of the public during the time Ng was driving against the flow of traffic.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Gabriel Choong sought a term of six weeks’ jail and five years’ disqualification, calling it a “shocking” case that was among a spate of eight incidents of drivers going against the flow of traffic last year, which caused public unease over the safety of Singapore roads.
Ng’s lawyer Luke Lee said in mitigation that Ng suffers from major depressive disorder and sees a psychiatrist twice a year. A psychiatric report produced in court also said that Ng’s behaviour was influenced by his concern over his daughter’s medical condition.
Lee told District Judge Terence Tay that giving Ng a Mandatory Treatment Order would be an incentive for Ng not to miss his appointments. Ng had committed three traffic offences in the past such as speeding and driving without a seatbelt.
District Judge (DJ) Tay said that Traffic Police statistics showed that there was a year-on-year increase in the number of traffic accidents. Last year, there were 140 fatal accidents and 141 fatalities, said DJ Tay.
Referring to Ng’s activities on the night of the incident, Tay noted that Ng had gone drinking and was playing games at the bar. These facts did not suggest that he was in a state of distress over his daughter’s medical condition, said the judge. DJ Tay added that he could have called his wife to ask about his daughter’s medical condition but did not.
There was also no explanation for why Ng made a U-turn and drove 2km when he could have just made a detour to drive home, said the judge.
Ng’s lawyer says he intends to file an appeal against the sentence. He is currently out on $15,000 bail.
For driving dangerously, a first-time offender can be jailed up to a year and fined up to $3,000. Repeat offenders can be jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.
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