E-mail of Complaint against SHA 3519 B.

Nearly knocked down by yet another taxi again – this time it’s a driver from ComfortDelGro.


Begin forwarded message:

From: Laremy Lee
Date: December 21, 2009 12:20:15 PM SST
To: feedback@cdgtaxi.com.sg
Subject: E-mail of Complaint against SHA 3519 B.

Dear Madam/Sir

I would like to lodge a complaint against one of the taxi drivers in your fleet – the driver of Vehicle Number SHA 3519 B (hereby referred to as “3519” in this e-mail).

At around 9pm on Sat, 19 Dec 2009, I was riding my motorcycle along Loyang Avenue (heading away from Changi Village) when the encounter with your taxi driver occurred. This is the flow of events as it happened:

  1. I was riding in the left lane, when I signalled right to change lane, as I wanted to overtake the vehicle in front of me.
  2. I changed lanes safely and without mishap. However, after I changed lanes, the vehicle which was then behind me (3519) turned on its high beam for an extended period. I noticed this as the glare from the reflection in my side mirrors was extremely bright and distracting.
  3. After I overtook the vehicle, which was now next to me, 3519 followed suit. It then tailgated me by driving behind me at a very close distance.
  4. Furthermore, 3519 continued shining its high beam at me – for no apparent reason.
  5. 3519 then overtook me in a dangerous fashion – it cut into the left lane at a high speed and at a tight angle, even after I had sounded my horn to alert the driver of my presence.
  6. This troubled me greatly, as it meant that 3519 nearly sideswiped my motorcycle. Hence, I followed the vehicle so that I could alert the driver to the fact that he had been driving in a dangerous manner.
  7. When 3519 stopped at the red light, he showed no signs of remorse. He did not even wind the window to talk to me; he merely glared at me in a menacing way.

These are my concerns as follow:

  1. That 3519 overtook me in such a dangerous fashion demonstrates that the driver had complete and utter disregard for the safety of my pillion and I, along with a deficiency in knowledge of what it means to drive safely on the roads.
  2. That 3519 had complete and utter disregard for our safety, plus the fact that the showed no signs of remorse proves that this was no accident – the driver had every intention to be a bully on the roads.

It is clear that your driver is at fault for driving dangerously and endangering the lives of my pillion and I. I would like to request for the following actions to be carried out:

  1. I want to know the driver’s name.
  2. I want to know why he did what he did that night.
  3. I want a meeting to be arranged so that I can speak with him as I would like a personal apology from him.

I don’t think this is too much to ask. For one, this is not the first time that an incident of this severity has occurred – there have been other taxis who have been equally threatening, and I have written in to their respective companies before. For another, I do not want you to punish him or ‘counsel’ him, as other taxi companies have done in the past, as it might not serve a purpose in rehabilitating this driver and making sure he does not commit the same mistake again. Rather, I believe that the driver will pay more attention to other road users subsequently when he meets me, as it might help him to realise that other road users are human beings as much as he is.

I hope you will respond favourably to my request. Problems like these must be nipped in the bud; a failure to do so will be irresponsibility on our parts, as it will only breed the possibility of more accidents on the road in the future.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

The road to hell is (sometimes) paved with good intentions.

Or, What to do if you meet with an accident in Singapore.

I think the proverb is supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, in that one always tends to say, “Well, I wanted to, but you know…” and doesn’t do anything in the end, hence being placed on an express queue to hell in the Judeo-Christian sense of the word.

But I’m wondering if it can also refer to how being nice can sometimes backfire. Why?

Well, Pooters got hit from behind by a taxi on Fri, 27 Mar. I had stopped at a red light for a few seconds when this clown of a taxi driver came screeching to a halt right behind me. Obviously, he had either been speeding or had been distracted by something, because he couldn’t stop his taxi from hitting my bike in time. I wasn’t injured, but Pooters was.

Poor Pooters.

Was quite sad to have to send Pooters to the workshop because I don’t seeing my bike in a sorry state. But I’m also thankful for the fact that I didn’t get injured – while I love my scooter quite a bit, Pooters is much more repairable than I am. So if I had to choose between me going to the hospital and Pooters going to the workshop, I’d choose the lesser of two evils.

Perhaps the accident wasn’t that bad partly because I hadn’t exactly stopped at the stop line myself. The light turned amber at the third arrow before the stop line, and I didn’t want to run a red light, so I only stopped slightly after the stop line. Also, I heard the screeching of brakes before the collision, and had already moved slightly forward with the intention of flinging Pooters aside and jumping away.

It didn’t come to that, but the taxi driver still emerged from his taxi and apologised to me profusely. I was very chill about it, because I’ve been in scrapes before and I just wanted to get the documentation down and be on my way. I was supposed to go watch The Importance of Being Earnest later that night, and I didn’t want to let the accident spoil my plans and/or my mood.

The taxi driver wanted a private settlement; he mentioned that he hadn’t paid off his installments for something, and it sounded suspiciously like he hadn’t finished paying off his installments for a previous accident he had been involved in. It should have set off alarm bells, but I, being the overly nice person that I sometimes am, decided to take him on his word and go with the private settlement. That was when my troubles began.

Well, not really troubles lah. To cut a long story short – the taxi driver very nearly defaulted on his agreement. After I got my vehicle back and tried contacting him to inform him about the repair costs, I found out that he had either switched off his phone or had disconnected his line. After a few days of listening to disembodied beeps, I decided to send an e-mail of complaint to the taxi company yesterday. This was a good move – they got back to me within the day, and I got my money back before the sun had set. So kudos to SMRT Taxis for the prompt and courteous customer service.

So should I have gone straight to filing an insurance claim, or should I have stuck to the private settlement, as I did in this case?

I still don’t know what the best choice is, but I’m just glad that this is one less matter for me to deal with. I think it really depends on the situation – maybe being nice and having good intentions sometimes is alright. But one cannot be too nice all the time, and there must be a limit to one’s goodwill.

In any case, I think the Singaporean motorists out should be aware of what to do in the event of an accident. My advice in five simple steps:

  1. Be calm – don’t panic. Don’t let the other driver rattle you either.
  2. Make sure you get these details down: the driver’s name, identity card/driving licence number, licence plate number, phone number, time of accident and location of accident.
  3. Send your vehicle to an Independent Damage Assessment Centre at once, then proceed with repairs. Regarding the repair bit, I’m not too sure whether you can choose to go to your own workshop, or you have to send your vehicle to the workshop of the insurer’s choice. Ask for advice on this.
  4. Keep all receipts, documents, etc. You never know when they might come in handy.
  5. Last but not least, take pictures. Take loads of pictures. Not just for blogging, mind you, but also to be used as evidence when effecting claims, etc.

The taxi driver, by the way, is quite a character. But that’s another story for another time.