Road Accident Statistics
(Singapore 2019)

A comprehensive guide to road accident statistics in Singapore.

Last Updated: August, 2019. Latest available data from May, 2019.

Highlights

  • There were 7,690 road accidents involving injuries in 2018
  • 120 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2018
  • Elderly pedestrians accounted for two-thirds of all pedestrian fatalities. (1 in 2 accidents involving elderly pedestrians was due to jaywalking)
  • Motorcyclists and pillion riders account for about 1 in 2 of overall road fatalities
  • 73% of heavy vehicle drivers speed when traffic is light
  • Singapore’s road fatality rate of 2.73 per 100,000 citizens is higher than London, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Deaths per 100,000 people

Singapore’s road traffic fatality rate per 100,000 population went down significantly from 2010 to 2016. From 3.80 deaths per 100,000 persons, the figures went down to 2.51 per 100,000 persons. Unfortunately, the numbers increased slightly to 2.20 in 2018, from 2.16 in 2017.

Road Traffic Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population (2009 – 2018)

Road Traffic Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population (2009 – 2018)

Trends

Despite the 7.5% increase of motor vehicles in Singapore over the past 10 years, road traffic accidents have actually barely grown. Compared to 0.96% in 2007, accidents represented just 0.82% of the motor vehicle population in 2017.

This means that over a typical 10-year Certificate of Entitlement lifespan, the probability of getting into a road accident decreased from 9.2% in 2008 to 7.9% in 2017. Furthermore, this decline in accident rate was coupled with a decline in fatality rates — from 4.57 per 100,000 people in 2008 to 2.16 per 100,000 people in 2017. Overall, this indicates that Singapore's roads have become safer, despite traffic accident numbers fluctuating from year to year.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this could be a decrease in the motor vehicle population over the years. From 605,149 cars in 2012, cars on the roads dwindled to 546,706 in 2017. The number of motorcycles and scooters too dipped from 144,110 in 2012 to 2017.

However, looking at road fatalities per vehicle paints a different picture.

In 2016, there were 14.8 fatalities per 100,000 motor vehicles. While this is down from 20.4 fatalities per 100,000 motor vehicles in 2010, it is nonetheless significant that the fatality rate per vehicle is so much higher than the fatality rate per capita.

Using this measure, Singapore compares unfavourably with countries like the United States, Japan, Germany, Australia and many other countries that Singapore outperformed on the basis of road mortality per capita.

For these countries, their performance on the basis of road mortality per capita and road mortality per vehicle do not differ significantly. This could be because compared to many developed countries, a significantly lower percentage of Singapore’s population actually owns a car. As of 2013, an estimated 42 per cent of Singapore households owned a car. This stands in contrast to a high level of car ownerships in other developed countries. This means a large proportion of Singapore’s population is comparatively less exposed to the risks of travel by motor vehicles, and so their likelihood of getting into a car accident is much lower.

Injuries

The number of accidents resulting in injuries decreased slightly by 0.5% to 7,690 cases in 2018, from 7,726 cases in 2017.

Number of Accidents Resulting in Injuries (2014 – 2018)

Number of Accidents Resulting in Injuries (2014 – 2018)

Fatalities

The number of fatal accidents increased slightly by 2.6% to 120 in 2018, from 117 in 2017. The number of fatalities also increased slightly by 2.5% to 124 in 2018, from 121 in 2017.

Number of Fatal Accidents and Fatalities (2014 – 2018)

Number of Fatal Accidents and Fatalities (2014 – 2018)

Download a copy of our infographic showing road accident statistics at a quick glance.

Singapore vs Global

Every year, nearly 1.35 million people die in car accidents worldwide. This works out to an average of 3,287 deaths per day. An additional 20 to 25 million are left injured or disabled.

Road traffic accidents rank as the ninth leading cause of death and account for 2.2 per cent of all deaths globally. The accidents cost US$518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 3% of their annual GDP.

Singapore has always been proclaimed a safe state internationally. This is so even compared with other countries of a similar size.

So it may come as a surprise that in a comparison with four similar-sized cities, Singapore actually had the second highest road fatality rate.

Singapore’s road fatality rate of 2.73 per 100,000 citizens is higher than that of London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, but less than Seoul’s. Still, compared to London and Hong Kong, Singapore's rate of accidents per 100,000 cars is far lower. This indicates that while Singapore sees fewer road accidents compared to its peers, the accidents are more severe.

Road Accident Fatality Rate in Singapore vs Comparable Cities

Road Accident Fatality Rate in Singapore vs Comparable Cities

This finding is further backed by the increase in car insurance claims, where despite fewer accidents, car insurance claims increased by 11.8% in 2017, leading insurers to believe accidents have become more severe.

Heavy vehicles involvement

Fatal accidents involving heavy vehicles were down to 10 in the first half of 2018, which is half of what it was in the first half of 2017. The number of heavy vehicle accidents that resulted in injuries also dipped, from 377 to 361 in the first half of 2018.

Motorcycles

There were 3,410 accidents involving motorcyclists between January to September 2016. Khoo Teck Puat Hospital reported treating 865 severely injured motorcyclists between 2011 and 2015; while National University Hospital treated 415 moderate to severely injured motorcyclists between January 2014 to October 2016.

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital reported that slightly more than half of them were Singaporeans while 42 per cent were Malaysians.

Motorcyclists get injured in traffic accidents due to collisions with the road surface, road barriers or other vehicles.

They tend to suffer severe injuries or even death as they are not protected by the shell of their vehicles. Injuries suffered by motorcyclists include bleeding in the skull, bone fractures and multiple rib fractures.

Private hire cars

Despite only making up 4.9 per cent of the total vehicle population, private car hires accounted for 9.4 per cent of 82,800 accidents in 2017, going by statistics gathered by motor insurers. Private car hires, which include ride-sharing services such as Grab and Gojek, are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than other passenger cars because of the lower average age of drivers and the long hours spent behind the wheel. 

Taxis

Taxis, which make up a mere 2.4 per cent of the vehicle population accounted for 13 per cent of accidents in 2017, going by statistics gathered by motor insurers.

Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)

Up to 228 accidents involving personal mobility devices (PMDs) on public paths were reported in 2017 and 2018. Of the 228 accidents reported, 196 involved injuries. Thirty-two of the injuries were major, with concussions and fractures sustained. One case was fatal, where the PMD user skidded and succumbed to his injuries.

Cycles

Cycling is an important part of Singapore’s transport landscape, especially as the country aims to go car-lite. However, cycling on Singapore’s roads may not be all that safe. In 2016, there were 19 fatal accidents involving cyclists and pillion riders, slightly higher than the 17 cases in 2015.

By Age group

Globally, more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users.

Young children are particularly vulnerable as they may not understand the dangers of the road, and their small physique makes them less visible to motorists. This is true of Singapore as well. In 2017, 132 children below 12 were injured in road traffic accidents in the first half of the year, up from 128 for the same period last year.

In Singapore, the number of accidents involving elderly pedestrians fell by 6.2% to 259 in 2018, from 276 in 2017. However, they remain a vulnerable group of concern, as accidents involving elderly pedestrians account for 25% of all accidents involving pedestrians. Forty per cent of these accidents involved jaywalking. The number of fatalities among elderly pedestrians decreased marginally to 25 persons in 2018, from 26 persons in 2017. However, elderly pedestrians accounted for 62.5% 4 of all pedestrian fatalities in 2018, an increase from 57.8% in 2017.

Statistically, younger drivers pose a much greater risk of having an accident, due in part to their relatively fewer years of driving experience. In addition to a lack of driving experience, rates increase for younger drivers due to their propensity for reckless driving.

This was borne out in an online survey conducted by a Singapore-based insurance company in 2015 which found that 63% of respondents aged 18 to 35 admitted to unsafe behavior on the roads.

By Gender

Men have to pay higher premiums than women do across all age groups because insurance companies consider them to be far more accident-prone and therefore a greater risk. Insurers findings reveal that men are 1.4 times more likely to get into an accident as women.

Vulnerable Road Users

In 2017, the majority of road accident non-fatal casualties were motorcyclists and pillion riders followed by car drivers/passengers and tailed by pedestrians.

Roadkill

Since development for Singapore’s eco-tourism hub began in January 2016, five animals have been killed in the Mandai area. These include a leopard cat, a huge sambar deer, a wild boar and a critically endangered sunda pangolin.

This is due to the forest clearing which results in a loss of habitat and foraging area for the wildlife, which includes the pangolins, mouse deer and sambar deer. These animals are forced to move around and end up getting onto adjacent busy roads or highways where hoardings are not present.

Common causes of road accidents

The main causes of road accidents in Singapore in 2017 and 2018 are alcohol consumption while driving and traffic light violations.

Getting behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol is a serious offence. Alcohol consumption can negatively affect the ability to respond efficiently to certain stimuli. This is because drinking affects a driver’s concentration, coordination, reflexes and ability to make correct decisions. These are necessary when driving a vehicle.

Under Singapore law, the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration is 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliltres of blood.

The number of persons arrested for drink-driving decreased by 3.7% to 2,002 persons in 2018, from 2,078 persons in 2017. This was despite an increase in the number of drink-driving enforcement operations conducted in 2018. However, the number of drink-driving accidents increased by 17.3% to 176 cases in 2018, from 150 in 2017. Motorcyclists who were drink-driving and got involved in accidents increased by 51.3% to 59 cases in 2018, from 39 cases in 2017.

When a traffic light turns amber, it serves as a warning for drivers to slow down. Yet there are some who see this as a challenge to step on the accelerator and keep going. Beating the red light may save time but the risk of getting into an accident is high.

The disobedience of traffic light signals increased by 15.7% to 53,910 cases in 2018, from 46,599 cases in 2017. The number of red-light running accidents increased slightly by 2.6% to 120 accidents in 2018, from 117 accidents in 2017.

Number of drink-driving accidents and red-light violations and accidents

Year Drink-driving accidents %change

2017

150

17.3%

2018

176

Year Drink-driving accidents involving motorcyclists %change

2017

39

51%

2018

59

Year Red-light running voilations %change

2017

46,599

15.7%

2018

53,910

Year Red-light running accidents %change

2017

117

2.6%

2018

120

 

Another major cause of road accidents in Singapore is distracted driving. This could be caused by the use of the mobile phone while driving or listening to the GPS system. Either of these activities prevent the driver from giving 100 per cent of his attention to his driving.

In fact, 83% of drivers admitted to using their mobile phones without a hands-free kit while driving in a 2013 Samsung-commissioned survey. Common reasons for using the mobile phone while driving include feeling pressured to respond quickly to work, family or friends, feeling confident in one’s driving abilities and proficiency at multi-tasking. Using the phone while driving has two consequences: it distracts the driver from paying full attention on the road, and it takes one hand off the wheel.

Other common causes of accidents are speeding, failure to keep a proper lookout, failure to have proper control, failure to give way to traffic with the right of way and changing of lanes without due care.

Driving a poorly maintained vehicle can also lead to accidents. Cars need to be upkept to ensure they perform at their best. If your tyres are balding, get them replaced.

Overseas accidents

With more Singaporeans going overseas for holidays, and more people renting cars abroad or driving up to other countries, accidents involving Singaporeans are also going up. Eleven Singaporeans died in traffic accidents overseas between December 2017 and January 2018.

Despite its small population, Singapore ranked fourth among Asian countries whose drivers were involved in fatal and injury crashes in New Zealand. About 50 Singaporeans were involved in such crashes between 2012 and 2016.

China was first with close to 350 accidents in the same period, followed by India and the Philippines. When non-Asian countries were included in a Top 20 list, Singapore came in 12th. Most of these involved rental cars.

Overseas drivers get into accidents because they lose control of their vehicles and do not know how to adjust to the road conditions. Staying alert while driving on holiday is vital as driving conditions can change due to weather.

In Malaysia, speeding is a factor for Singaporeans being killed on the roads there.

Citations:

[1] https://www.police.gov.sg/news-and-publications/statistics
[2] https://www.valuechampion.sg
[3] https://www.police.gov.sg/~/media/20190221_annualroadtrafficaccidentsituation2018.pdf
[4] https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/motor-insurance-claims-despite-fall-accidents

Disclaimer:

Data on this website was sourced in August 2019 with the latest available data from May 2019. Auto & General Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Limited does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected in any way to the use or reliance upon this data.