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Written Reply by Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung to Parliamentary Question on Accidents and Incidents Involving Vehicles Catching Fire Due to Mechanical Failure and Poor Maintenance of Vehicles

02 Feb 2021 In Parliament

Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Transport

a.     in the past five years, how many vehicular accidents and incidents involving vehicles catching fire have arisen due to mechanical failure and poor maintenance of vehicles; and

b.     what steps have been taken against vehicle owners or other persons who are responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles involved.

Reply by Minister for Transport Ong Ye Kung:

1.     In the past five years, there have been about 200 cases of vehicle fires per year. Majority of them are due to overheating or faults in electrical components. Given that vehicular parts are badly damaged in most cases of vehicular fire, the SCDF is not usually able to pinpoint the cause of the fire to mechanical failure or lack of maintenance.

2.     To ensure that vehicles are roadworthy, vehicle owners must send their vehicles to LTA-Authorised Inspection Centres (AICs) for mandatory periodic inspections. Older vehicles, as well as commercial and point-to-point passenger transport vehicles are subjected to more frequent inspections. Vehicles that fail the inspection will not have their road tax renewed, and cannot be used on our roads.

3.     LTA also checks for illegal modifications to vehicles, as these could compromise vehicle safety. These checks are conducted as part of the mandatory periodic inspections, and during LTA’s regular enforcement efforts on our roads. Under the Road Traffic Act, any person who is convicted of an illegal modification to the vehicle can be fined up to $5000, imprisoned up to three months, or both. The penalties will be doubled for repeat offenders.

4.     LTA and SCDF have developed joint advisories on how to prevent and handle vehicle fires, for example, through regular servicing and checks for fluid leakages that could lead to engine overheating. These advisories can be found on social media, or at motorist touchpoints such as petrol kiosks, LTA-AICs and customer service centres.