SINGAPORE — A man who fell asleep while driving mounted the kerb, hit a pedestrian and crashed into a bus stop along Kampong Bahru Road before he regained consciousness.
His 10-month-old son, who was in the car with him at the time, fractured his skull as a result of the collision, which was earlier reported in the media.
The 27-year-old Japanese driver, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his son, was fined $7,000 on Friday (6 December) and disqualified from driving for two years. He pleaded guilty to one count each of committing a negligent act causing hurt and causing grievous hurt.
Two charges relating to failure to secure his son in an approved child restraint and for causing hurt to his wife through the same act were taken into consideration for his sentencing.
Accident at Kampong Bahru Road
On 7 September, the man was driving his company car to run an errand together with his wife and son at about 11.45pm. As he cruised along Kampong Bahru Road, the man fell asleep at the wheel, causing his car to veer left, mount the curb, and plough into Tennakoon Mudiyanselage Hasitha Presad, a 37-year-old Sri Lankan who was standing at a bus stop.
The car crashed into the bus stop before coming to a stop, and only then did the man regain consciousness.
Tennakoon was conveyed to the hospital for abrasions on his limbs and back pain. The man’s baby son was found with a fracture to his skull, while his wife sustained redness to her forehead and left eye, as well as pain in her left knee.
Due to the accident, both the car’s bumpers as well as the lower left and right areas of the vehicle were dented and scratched. The front windscreen was also cracked.
Government property – which included a walkway shelter pillar, two guard portions of railing, a bus service information board, a bus terminal signboard, a concave mirror and a signage pole – were all uprooted by the car.
Light traffic, dry road surface, clear visibility
At the time of the accident, the traffic volume was light and the road surface was dry with clear visibility, stated Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yong Ngee, who sought the maximum fine of $5,000 and $2,500 for the two proceeded charges as well as a three-year disqualification from driving for the driver.
“While the harm caused to the victims is relatively minor, another relevant consideration is the potential harm that may have resulted,” said the prosecutor.
“In the present case, the accused’s car had collided into the bus stop at full speed. It is merely fortuitous that only the victim was standing at the bus stop at the time of the accident. It is equally fortuitous that the injuries caused to the passengers of the car were minor.”
The man’s lawyer Christian Teo said that the case was exceptional as the victims here included the driver’s own son.
His client, who works in the sales and administrative department, had not intended to drive that night but had to run errands for the company. As he was a junior member in the company and also because of the culture of the Japanese, he took it upon himself to drive even though he was not feeling well, said the lawyer.
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