SINGAPORE — After failing to keep a proper lookout for oncoming traffic when making a right turn, a driver collided into a motorcyclist who suffered injuries to his right leg and foot, so much so that his ankle and toes are now deformed.
On Wednesday (Sept 6), Lim Dean Ming, 65, was convicted of careless driving after two days of trial and was sentenced to six weeks’ jail. He was also disqualified from holding all types of driving licences for five years.
Court documents stated that on the evening of March 8 in 2021, Lim was driving along Compassvale Road in Sengkang towards Compassvale Link and stopped at a junction when the traffic light was red.
When the light turned green, he drove towards the centre of the junction with the intention to make a right turn.
At the time, the right turn onto Sengkang East Avenue was a discretionary right turn, meaning road users have to use their judgement to turn when the road is clear, so Lim was obliged to give way to motor vehicles that were coming from the opposite direction.
He also had to give way to any pedestrians who were using the pedestrian crossing on his right side.
Lim waited for a van in the oncoming lane to pass him and for a pedestrian to reach the end of the crossing before he turned right.
However, as he did so, he collided into Haiqal Halfis, 23, who was riding his motorcycle in the opposite direction.
Mr Haiqal was flung forward and landed on the road near the traffic light.
After he was taken to Sengkang General Hospital, he was found to have sustained a fracture of the right foot and a fracture of the right leg bone with multiple abrasions.
He then went for at least four operations between March 9 and 17, and was eventually discharged on April 5 — 33 days after the accident.
Mr Haiqal had to attend follow-up appointments as well as a day surgery on May 3, and was given a total of 49 days of medical leave.
He is likely to suffer from permanent weakness in his right leg and foot, which has made walking long distances difficult.
SIGNIFICANT HARM CAUSED
Seeking six to 10 weeks’ jail and a ban from holding all driving licences for five to six years, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Natalie Chu stated that Lim’s careless driving had resulted in moderate harm caused to Mr Haiqal.
This was because Mr Haiqal’s injuries required significant follow-up as well as additional surgical procedures to address complications.
DPP Chu also said that the accident had resulted in Mr Haiqal losing his income as a Grab delivery driver and caused permanent weakness to his right leg and foot.
During mitigation, Lim, who was not represented by a lawyer, reiterated what he had last submitted during the trial, stating that he “did not have enough time” to look back to check if Mr Haiqal was approaching.
He added that he did look left and right before making the right turn, but the victim’s alleged speeding made the time too short for Lim to spot him.
In delivering her sentence, District Judge Kamala Ponnampalam agreed with the prosecution that although Lim’s culpability was low, he still caused significant harm to the victim and a fine would not be appropriate.
The judge added that after taking into account all other factors, including Lim’s past convictions for road traffic offences, a six-week jail term and disqualification from holding all driving licences for five years would be reasonable.
For careless driving, Lim could have been fined S$5,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.