Singapore, Oct 27 (IANS) An elderly Indian-origin van driver in Singapore has been sentenced to 12 weeks’ jail, fined SG$3,800 for hitting a cyclist in a fatal accident in 2021.
Bhagwan Tulsidas Binwani, 70, was also banned from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for eight years upon release, The Straits Times newspaper reported on Thursday.
Binwani did not have his driving licence validated after he turned 65, and he continued driving for the next three years till he hit Khan Suruj, a 54-year-old construction worker.
He plead guilty to one count of causing the death of Suruj and also admitted to two other charges of driving without a valid licence and driving without valid insurance.
The court heard that Binwani, who operates textile wholesaler Binwanis Enterprises, drove a van registered to the company.
On December 27, 2021, around 5 p.m., Binwani was driving the van along Jurong Port Road and did not slow down as he approached a zebra crossing.
The van hit Suruj, who had cycled onto the zebra crossing, and the impact caused the victim to fly off the bicycle and land a short distance away.
He was rushed to the hospital but died the next day from traumatic brain injuries.
As early as 10 weeks before Binwani’s 65th birthday, Singapore’s Traffic Police (TP) had sent a letter on his registered address informing him to undergo a compulsory medical examination to validate his driving licence, court documents revealed.
Binwani went for the medical exam eight days before his birthday, but submitted only the first of the two-page report to TP.
The TP e-mailed him to tell his submission was incomplete but he did not make further submissions, following which they sent Binwani a registered post stating that since no report had been submitted, his driving licence was now invalid.
The letter asked him not to drive without a valid licence, and if his licence was not validated within three years, he would have to pass a competence test before he could get another licence.
Binwani told investigators that he did not receive any letter from TP requesting that his medical exam report be submitted by his 65th birthday and assumed his licence was valid.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Pavithra Ramkumar told the court that Binwani’s plea of guilt did not reflect genuine remorse, as he continued to blame Suruj for the incident.
She asked the court to impose a high fine for driving without a valid licence, and three to six months’ imprisonment for the charge involving the cyclist’s death.