A driver who lost control of an SBS Transit lorry during heavy rain and caused it to plunge into a drain in Bedok was on Wednesday (14 November) fined $2,000 and disqualified from driving for six months.
Abdul Rashid Mohd Yunos, 57, pleaded guilty in the State Courts to one charge of causing hurt by doing a negligent act to endanger human life.
Both the driver and his front seat passenger, construction worker R. Karthikayan, an Indian national, suffered minor fractures to their spine.
The court heard that on 13 June, at about 12.30pm, Abdul Rashid was driving the lorry at about 50kmh on the leftmost lane along Bedok North Avenue 4 and heading back to the SBS Transit Bedok Depot. Karthikayan, who worked for Rai Builders, an SBS Transit subcontractor, was asleep next to him.
At the time, the road surface was wet as it was raining heavily and traffic flow was light.
As the driver reached a signalised pedestrian crossing, he noticed that the traffic light had turned amber.
He stepped on the brakes, but failed to have proper control of the lorry, causing it to skid and veer to the left, and then crash into green guard railings before plunging into a drain.
The lorry landed on its left side in the drain.
Abdul Rashid crawled out of the lorry through its shattered windscreen and helped carry Karthikayan to the side of the drain, Deputy Public Prosecutor Ashraf Hassan told the court. The construction worker was conscious, but had back pain.
Firemen arrived at the scene and rescued both men, who were then sent to hospital.
Abdul Rashid had abrasions and a minor fracture of his spine. He was discharged with 18 days of hospitalisation leave.
Karthikayan also had a fracture of his spine. He was discharged with hospitalisation leave of nearly two months. He does not suffer from any permanent disability, but is still on medication for pain in his back, right leg and buttocks.
At the time of the accident, there was no malfunctioning of the traffic lights or any mechanical fault to the lorry. Its brakes and steering systems had been serviced in June.
In mitigation, Abdul Rashid, who has two children, told District Judge Brenda Tan that he lost his job due to the accident.
The maximum punishment for causing hurt by a negligent act endangering the life or personal safety of others is up to six months’ jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
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