Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye
asked the Minister for Transport
a. what are the most popular lorry models being sold in Singapore in the past five years; and
b. whether there are any previous engagements with the manufacturers of these lorry models on enhancing the safety of passengers on rear decks by strengthening the floor of the lorry to allow for seat belts to be installed.
c. whether the Ministry has data on how much money has been paid out by automotive insurers due to claims arising from lorry accidents over the past five years;
d. if so, what is the annual amount; and
e. whether the Ministry has engaged insurers to study the impact on whether insurance claims and premiums will fall if seat belts are made mandatory on the rear decks of lorries.
Reply by Minister for Transport S Iswaran:
1. Over the past five years, popular lorry models sold in Singapore included the Toyota Dyna, Nissan Cabstar and Mitsubishi Canter. LTA does not collect information on insurance claims.
2. LTA has engaged the industry and academia on various occasions, including most recently in December 2021, on proposals to enhance worker transportation safety on lorries, including strengthening the floorboard of the lorries’ carriage deck for seat belts.
3. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) shared that the retrofitting of seats, seat belts and reinforcements required for the floorboards may compromise the structural integrity of the lorry. In addition, the vehicle’s dynamics will be altered, and this can affect the lorry’s stability when turning. These create new safety risks. There are also liability issues as the OEMs do not support and vouch for the safety of such lorries retrofitted with seatbelts. These findings are consistent with those from the previous tripartite review in 2008 on lorry transportation that retrofitting seat belts in the rear decks of lorries could result in other safety risks. Hence, as fitting seat belts in the rear of lorries could pose new risks, it is unclear that insurance premiums would be lower by doing so.