Road Accident Statistics
Singapore 2022

A comprehensive guide to road accident statistics in Singapore.

Last Updated: January, 2022. Latest available data from May, 2020.

Highlights

  • There were 5,473 road accidents involving injuries in 2020
  • 85 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2020
  • Elderly pedestrians accounted for half 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 1.49 per 100,000 citizens is higher than Japan, UK, Australia and Canada.

Deaths per 100,000 people

Singapore’s road traffic fatality rate per 100,000 population went down significantly from 2019 to 2020. From 2.07 deaths per 100,000 persons, the figures went down to 1.49 per 100,000 persons. This is the lowest number of fatalities from road accidents since 1981.

The marked decline in fatalities last year was in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw roads becoming less congested, especially during the Circuit Breaker last April and May when movement and activities were restricted. The figures, pointed out Commander of Traffic Police Gerald Lim, are anomalies due to less traffic during this period.

Road Traffic Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population (2009 – 2020)

Road Traffic Fatality Rate per 100,000 Population (2009 – 2020)

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 1.49 per 100,000 people in 2020. Overall, this indicates that Singapore's roads have become safer, despite traffic accident numbers fluctuating from year to year.

Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, a decrease in the motor vehicle population over the years could also account for this. From 967,768 cars in the first half of 2019, cars and station wagons on the roads dwindled to 634,000in 2020. The number of motorcycles and scooters, however, increased slightly from 139,311 in the first half of 2019 to 141,000 in 2020.

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

In 2019, there were 12.13. 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 2018, an estimated 35 percent 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 fell from 7,705 cases in 2019 to 5,473 in 2020.

Number of Accidents Resulting in Injuries (2014 – 2020)

Number of Accidents Resulting in Injuries (2014 – 2020)

Fatalities

The number of fatal accidents decreased by% 29.9% from 117 in 2019, to 82 in 2020. The number of fatalities also decreased by 28% from 118 in 2019, to 85 in 2020.

Number of Fatal Accidents and Fatalities (2014 – 2020)

Number of Fatal Accidents and Fatalities (2014 – 2020)

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 percent 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.

While Singapore’s road fatality rate of 1.49 per 100,000 citizens is low, the road fatalities per vehicle is still relatively high. Using this measure, Singapore fares unfavourably with countries like Japan, UK, Australia and Canada. 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 such as lorries, tipper trucks and trailers were down slightly to 30 in 2019, compared to 31 in 2018. The number of heavy vehicle accidents that resulted in injuries also dipped, from 1,189 in 2018 to 1,021 in 2019.

Motorcycles

Motorcyclists accounted for 63% of the total number of fatal accidents in 2020. This is even though the number of accidents involving motorcyclists and pillion riders decreased by 29.8% in 2020, falling to 3,180 from 4,531 in 2019. The number of motorcyclists and pillion riders who sustained injuries also fell by 32.5% from 5,010 in 2019 to 3,381 in 2020. The number of fatalities among motorcyclists and pillion riders also saw a decrease of 20.3% from 64 in 2019 to 51 in 2020.

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 percent of the total vehicle population, private car hires accounted for 9.4 percent 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 percent of the vehicle population accounted for 13 percent of accidents in 2017, going by statistics gathered by motor insurers.

Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs)

Almost 300 people were treated in 2018 for accidents related to personal mobility devices (PMDs, with 16% of them being severe. Since November 2019, PMDs have been banned on footpaths. Only PMDs used as disability aids, such as motorised wheelchairs, are exempted. Since barring PMDs from footpaths, accidents on footpaths involving PMDs have fallen by 52%.

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 2020, there were 556 casualties in accidents involving cyclists and pillion riders, which is higher than the 417 cases between January and November 2019.

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 2019, 104 children below 12 were injured in 90 road traffic accidents in the first half of the year. Although this was down from 135 for the same period in 2018, many of these accidents could have been avoided.

In Singapore, the number of accidents involving elderly pedestrians stood at 234 last year, down from 321 in 2019, a decrease of 27.1%. However, they remain a vulnerable group of concern as accidents involving elderly pedestrians account for half of all accidents involving pedestrians. Half of these accidents involved jaywalking. The number of fatalities among elderly pedestrians decreased by 44.4%, from 27 persons in 2019 to 15 persons in 2020. However, elderly pedestrians accounted for 83% of all pedestrian fatalities in 2020, up from nearly 70% in 2019.

The elderly are a particularly vulnerable group as their reflexes slow down with age. The Traffic Police is stepping up efforts to convince them to use the pedestrian crossing instead of dashing across the road. As impaired vision could also be a problem, The Traffic Police and the Singapore Road Safety Council have also partnered with the Singapore Optometric Association to develop an eye care kit which will be distributed to the elderly. The kit - which will be distributed to the elderly - includes four tests, which check peripheral vision as well as the ability to distinguish details and colour contrasts.

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 behaviour 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 2019, the majority of road accident casualties were pedestrians followed by motorcyclists and pillions, tailed by heavy vehicle users. Motorcyclists and elderly pedestrians continue to be involved in a disproportionate number of traffic incidents resulting in injuries.

Roadkill

Since development for Singapore’s eco-tourism hub began in January 2016, a number of animals have been killed in the Mandai area. These include a leopard cat, several deer, a wild boar, a critically endangered sunda pangolin and five colugos – native nocturnal mammals that are only found in good forests.

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. A Mandai Wildlife Bridge has since been built to help animals cross the road safely.

Common causes of road accidents

The main causes of road accidents in Singapore in 2020 were alcohol consumption while driving and speeding violations.

The number of drink-driving accidents dipped by about 10 percent, from 162 in 2019 to 146 in 2020. This could have been a result of the temporary closure of nightlife establishments and watering holes as part of the measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

There was, however, an 85.7% increase in the number of fatal drink-driving accidents, which went up from 7 cases in 2019 to 13 in 2020.

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 millilitres of blood.

The number of speeding violations also fell from 184,977 in 2019 to 162,324 in 2020. However, the number of speeding-related accidents saw a 3.1% increase to 758 in 2020, up from 735 cases the previous year.

The increase in instances of both fatal drink-driving and speed-related offences could likely be attributed to lighter traffic on the roads during the two-month Circuit Breaker and the work from home arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic. As far as the latter is concerned, the less crowded roads could have induced motorists to speed. Carelessness and loss of control of their vehicles could then have resulted in accidents.

Fewer vehicles on the roads may also have led motorists into thinking that there would be less traffic enforcement, possibly leading to the rise in fatal drink-driving accidents.

Fewer motorists ran red lights last year, with such violations falling 16.4% to 50,725, down from 60,693 in 2019.

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

Year Drink-driving accidents %change

2017

150

17.3%

2018

176

2019

162

-9.88%

2020

146

Year Drink-driving accidents involving motorcyclists %change

2017

39

51%

2018

59

2019

7

85.7%

2020

13

Year Red-light running voilations %change

2017

46,599

15.7%

2018

53,910

2019

60,693

-16.4%

2020

50,725

Year Red-light running accidents %change

2017

117

2.6%

2018

120

2019

735

3.1%

2020

758

 

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 percent 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 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 the Covid-19 pandemic, travel has been off the cards since 2020. However, in previous years traffic accidents involving Singaporeans overseas were quite high. 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 2020. 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.