Some months ago, a bus collided into my car. I was fortunate that there was video footage to capture the entire accident, including the fact that the bus driver simply drove off. The matter is finally over, so I feel okay to share some details about the incident, and in particular why this is all so infuriating.
The accident happened in NUS. The bus was the NUS internal shuttle bus. Fortunately for me, there is comprehensive camera video surveillance around NUS, so the entire incident was recorded. This is particularly important to me, because the bus reversed into my car, and usually in front-to-back accidents, the vehicle behind is assumed to be at fault. The bus driver was really arrogant about the incident (read about it here), probably because without the video footage, his version of the story will carry more weight. Thankfully the matter has been settled in my favour, and I managed to claim all damages from the bus’ insurer.
I was reimbursed for my expenses: excess paid to repair workshop, rental of courtesy car, etc. I did not loose financially. But is this really enough? I was really angry with the attitude of the bus driver. How about damages due to emotional distress? Inconvenience caused to me? Time wasted? How about “damages” that my car is no longer accident free? My car’s value has been reduced because of the accident eh?
In the US, the land where you can sue for the strangest reasons, I would probably be quite successful in pursuing these additional damages. Not so in Singapore. I would not be so peeved if the accident had been a plain simple accident, and had the guilty party been apologetic about the incident. But here this bus driver had been grossly negligent (and arrogant about it). He had reversed at great speed totally oblivious to a car behind. What if there had been a pedestrian crossing behind the bus?
I’m tempted to suggest that our insurance system (or even traffic regulations) should be adjusted to award some compensation to the innocent party, and exact a penalty on the negligent party. Think about how many people have been thoroughly inconvenienced by traffic jams due to accidents caused by negligent drivers?
But this of course opens up a can of worms. It will definitely be a complicated system to administer and regulate. It might even open up a new insurance market for insuring against this “compensation penalty” which would defeat its very purpose.
Actually, what I’m talking about already exists partially. It is in the form of NCD. Car drivers are penalized by the loss of NCD if blame for an accident falls on them. But some insurers offer a rider to protect the NCD. I wonder if it will be good to disallow this? Also, pass on some compensation to the innocent party! (Okay, it is still complicated; What if people “innocently” cause accidents?)
Sigh. We need a system to rid the roads of irresponsible drivers.