8,650 caught jaywalking

Would you risk your life doing something for which you can be fined $2,000?

No way, you may say.

But more than 8,000 people did just that, and were caught last year.

They were probably the lucky ones.

Jaywalking also left 24 people dead on our roads last year.

Although this number is down by a third from 2010, it still accounted for about half of the total pedestrian fatalities last year.

More people have also been caught jaywalking over the last three years.

Jaywalkers can be fined $20 on the spot. They can also be charged and fined up to $1,000, or jailed up to three months. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 or jailed up to six months.

But more significantly, those aged 60 and above made up more than half of the total pedestrian deaths last year.

But the number of elderly pedestrian fatalities fell from 29 in 2010 to 26 last year.

The number of elderly pedestrians who died as a result of jaywalking was also halved last year compared with 2010.

Elderly pedestrians have been a concern for the traffic police over the last few years.

Awareness

Several initiatives were introduced last year to engage the elderly on road safety awareness, including collaborating with various partners to reach out to the elderly via radio and television programmes.

Several road features were also introduced in order to enhance pedestrians' safety, especially for the elderly.

Such measures include an expansion of the Green Man Plus scheme.

Under the scheme, senior citizens get up to five seconds more to cross when they tap their CEPAS-compliant concession cards on a card reader above the push button on the traffic light poles at certain crossings.

By the first quarter of 2013, this scheme will be extended to an additional 240 pedestrian crossings at 146 locations.

It will apply to a total of 500 crossings by 2014.

A pilot study on the flushed LED road studs at zebra crossing near elderly estates was also started last year.

The flushed LED road studs are solar-powered lights embedded in the road at selected zebra crossings. These emit flashes of light at night so motorists will be aware of the pedestrian crossing.

The number of speeding violations have also gone up, from 173,000 in 2009 to 225,000 last year.

This is despite the total number of fatal and injury accidents falling by 8.1 per cent from 8,625 cases in 2010 to 7,925 cases last year.

The fatal and injury accident rate per 10,000 vehicle population last year was also the lowest in the last five years.

It fell from 91.96 in 2010 to 83.31 last year.

A police spokesman said different reasons could have contributed to the increase in the number of speeding violations detected.

She added: "Traffic police takes a serious view of speeding, and with the transfer of illegal parking to the Land Transport Authority on November 1, 2010, traffic police has been better able to focus our efforts on such violations.

"In addition, traffic police reviews our operational and enforcement strategies based on prevailing trends and available resources, which could also affect the number of such summonses."


This article was first published in The New Paper.