Skip to main content

Written Answer by Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng to PQ on enforcement measures in place to prevent drivers of heavy vehicles from being overworked


MP: Ms Joan Pereira

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what enforcement measures are in place to prevent drivers of heavy vehicles from being overworked especially for drivers who are migrant workers; (b) whether the Ministry will review the payment model and structure for these drivers so as to boost safety; and (c) whether the Ministry will make it mandatory for all heavy vehicle owners to install speed-tracking and anti-fatigue devices.


To protect employees from fatigue and being overworked, there are restrictions on working hours under the Employment Act (EA). Workmen1, including drivers of heavy vehicles, earning up to $4,500 per month should not work more than 12 hours per day. Errant employers found to be flouting the EA can be prosecuted and fined up to $5,000 for each offence. In addition, the Workplace Safety and Health Council (WSH Council) Guidelines on Fatigue Management recommends that drivers take scheduled breaks, such as 15 minutes of rest for every two hours of driving. The Workplace Safety and Health Council regularly engages the industry to educate employers and drivers on the risk factors and share recommendations on the good practices that can be adopted to prevent fatigue.

The number of accidents involving heavy vehicles2 resulting in fatalities or injuries declined by 45% from 776 cases in 2018 to 426 cases in 2020. Based on statistics from the Traffic Police (TP), for the past three years, the top five causes where heavy vehicle drivers were at fault in traffic accidents include: (1) failing to keep a proper lookout; (2) failing to have proper control; (3) failing to give way to traffic with right of way; (4) changing lane without due care; and (5) turning without due care.

Based on MOM’s investigations into fatal work-related traffic accidents, there is also no evidence to show that long working hours or fatigue had been a key contributory factor for fatal traffic accidents involving heavy vehicles. We are aware, and the industry itself recognises, that certain pay models could impact safety outcomes, but we have not seen a strong reason for the Government to intervene at the moment. A better way to do this, is for companies to adopt the pay model that best suits their company’s operations, taking into account the need to uphold safety, as recommended in the WSH Council Guidelines on Workplace Traffic Safety Management.

Since 1999, TP has required all heavy vehicles with a maximum laden weight greater than 12,000 kg, to install speed limiters which impose a speed limit of 60 km/h. TP and Land Transport Authority (LTA) will continue to monitor the development of suitable technologies that can help to discourage speeding and ensure road safety. MOM has also worked with Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) to provide grant support to adopt vehicular safety technology such as the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) to improve the situational awareness of drivers and warn of collision risks, and the Driver Status Monitoring System (DSM) to detect fatigue and distractions such as handphone usage or not looking ahead for extended periods. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can tap on the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) to install ADAS and DSM on their heavy vehicles.

1 Perform manual work
2 The Road Traffic Act defines heavy vehicles as those motor vehicles with unladen weight greater than 2,500kg and excluding motor cars and motorcycles