SINGAPORE — Not noticing a stationary bus that had broken down on the Tampines Expressway, Sheikh Oli KH Rahman Shah crashed his van into the right rear of the bus, resulting in his van passenger suffering multiple fractures on both hands.
The 38-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Wednesday (Nov 1) to six weeks’ jail after pleading guilty last month to driving without due care and attention under the Road Traffic Act.
Sheikh was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licence for five years.
Court documents prepared by Deputy Public Prosecutor Etsuko Lim stated that the bus had broken down on the leftmost lane of the Tampines Expressway towards Seletar Expressway on June 12, 2020.
To alert oncoming vehicles, the bus driver, Mr Chellaiah Vinoth, placed a breakdown sign about three car lengths behind the bus and switched on the vehicle’s hazard lights.
At around 10.50pm, Mr Chellaiah was standing in front of his bus as several mechanics attended to it when Sheikh’s van collided into the bus.
Sheikh claimed that he did not notice the bus until the very last second when he tried to swerve his van to the right.
The accident left Sheikh’s cousin, Mr Mohamed Saifullah Syed Masood, who was in the front passenger seat of the van, trapped in the vehicle.
After he was freed, he was taken to Sengkang General Hospital by an ambulance, where he was found to have sustained multiple fractures on both hands.
He was hospitalised for nearly two weeks till June 24, during which he underwent surgery and had his hands and wrists placed in a cast.
He underwent further surgery on Aug 5, 2020, to remove some of the metal implants that were inserted on June 16, and was started on occupational therapy to improve his hand and wrist functions.
Mr Saifullah was given a total of 65 days’ hospitalisation leave from June 13 to Aug 16, 2020.
A medical report dated March 8 this year stated that Mr Saifullah had full range of motion in both hands and that his fractures had healed well.
However, his left wrist had a slight decrease in range of motion indicating a 2 per cent permanent impairment of his left wrist.
Sheikh has since made full compensation to Mr Saifullah for all his medical bills incurred because of the accident.
Seeking six to eight weeks’ jail and a mandatory minimum five-year disqualification from all driving licences, DPP Lim argued that Sheikh was grossly inattentive while driving and that it was inexcusable of him to have failed to spot the sizeable bus.
Video footage showed that Sheikh was driving at considerable speed because there was significant damage caused to his van due to the impact of the collision, DPP Lim said, but he did not specify at what speed Sheikh was driving.
She added that a van is at least slightly harder to manoeuvre than a car and would have required a quicker reaction time but instead of paying extra attention while driving, Sheikh drove at considerable speed, which made it harder for him to react on the road.
For driving without due care and attention, Sheikh could have been jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$5,000, or both, with a disqualification from holding all classes of driving licence for five years.