Bhagwan Tulsidas Binwani, a 70-year-old van driver, was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail and fined S$3,800 on Thursday for his involvement in a fatal collision with a cyclist at a zebra crossing. The incident occurred on December 27, 2021, resulting in the tragic death of 54-year-old Khan Suruj, a construction worker.
According report, Bhagwan Binwani pleaded guilty to two counts under the Road Traffic Act and one count under the Motor Vehicles Act. The charges stemmed from his failure to keep a proper lookout while driving and his unauthorized use of the road.
Furthermore, it was revealed that Bhagwan had been driving without a valid license since August 23, 2018, as he had not submitted the required medical certificate upon turning 65.
As a consequence of his actions, Bhagwan was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licenses for 12 months, with an additional eight-year disqualification following his release, as per the report.
The tragic incident unfolded when Bhagwan was driving his van along Jurong Port Road in the direction of Corporation Road. Upon turning into the slip road leading to Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim, he failed to slow down as he approached a zebra crossing and struck Khan Suruj, who was riding his bicycle.
Khan was propelled off his bicycle, landing a short distance away. A witness, Mr. Eugene Loo, who saw the accident unfold, stopped his vehicle to render assistance to Khan, who was lying face down and unresponsive on the road.
While Mr. Loo called for an ambulance, another passerby also offered aid to Khan, who was bleeding from his ears and nose, the report added.
Video footage captured by Mr. Loo’s in-vehicle camera revealed that Khan’s bicycle had already entered the zebra crossing before Bhagwan’s van reached the stop line at the crossing. Khan was thrown onto the van’s windshield before landing face up in the middle of the slip road. Tragically, Khan’s body ended up lying face down on the road after Bhagwan’s van ran over his legs.
Khan Suruj was pronounced dead on December 28, 2021, due to traumatic injuries.
An autopsy conducted the following day confirmed that the cause of death was a head injury.
District Judge John Ng, presiding over the case, emphasized that the sentencing approach focused on the consequences rather than Bhagwan’s intentions. He stressed that no responsible driver wished to be involved in a traffic accident resulting in a fatality and that Bhagwan’s primary failure was his failure to keep a proper lookout and reduce his speed when approaching the zebra crossing.
Judge Ng also noted that Khan had somewhat reduced Bhagwan’s culpability by failing to stop and look for oncoming traffic before using the zebra crossing, as required by road rules. While this mitigating circumstance was not as significant, it did reduce Bhagwan’s time and opportunity to spot Khan at the zebra crossing.
Under Singaporean law, Bhagwan Binwani could have faced a maximum sentence of up to three years in jail and a fine of up to S$10,000 for causing death by driving. This could have included an eight-year disqualification from holding or obtaining a driving license.
Driving without a valid license could have resulted in a maximum sentence of up to three years in jail and a fine of up to S$10,000, along with a potential lifetime disqualification from holding or obtaining a driving license.
Additionally, driving without valid insurance could have led to a maximum sentence of up to three months in jail and a fine of up to S$1,000, along with a 12-month disqualification from holding or obtaining a driving license from the date of conviction.
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