14 February 2018

Safeguarding Our Roads Everyday


The Traffic Police (TP) plays a critical role in ensuring the safety of road users in Singapore. Through education, engagement and enforcement, the TP remains deeply rooted in its vision to make our roads the safest in the world. While 2017 is a good year with road fatality numbers being at a record low, Commander of TP Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SAC) Sam Tee is not resting on his laurels. Exuding a strict yet candid demeanour, the veteran policeman shares his thoughts and experiences in his stint as the ‘Chief Guardian of The Roads’ in this exclusive one-on-one interview.

PLM:                Share with us how you came to decide to join the SPF.

SAC Tee:          It was a childhood dream came true.  

PLM:                Which is your most memorable posting thus far and why? 

SAC Tee:          I have been fortunate to have good colleagues to work with in all my postings. It is the people that make the difference. 

 PLM:                Did you have any mentors or people who influenced you in the early phase of your career? Share with us how they have inspired you and shaped your work and personal life.  

SAC Tee:          Over the past 24 years of my career, I have met many kind colleagues and bosses who provided me with valuable guidance. They shared with me much wisdom which is not found in textbooks. Be fair, do the right thing, care for the men, look out for one another, be helpful and don't underestimate the importance of luck in your career. I still meet them for coffee and lunches whenever I have the opportunity. Because of them, I am a better leader and a better person.   

PLM:                What are the key initiatives implemented by TP to enable safer roads?

SAC Tee:          Strengthening education. We firmly believe education is a key enabler to safer roads. Majority of the road users are aware of the importance of road safety, but they still need to be educated on the dos and don'ts on the roads. Hence, we have been very persistent in our engagement and education efforts with road users. We reach out to them through various media platforms such as newspapers, radio interviews, TV interviews and social media. TP also developed a learning portal which offers free theory handbooks. Soon, road users can take free mock theory tests and watch animated videos on the top causes of accidents on our roads, which will be rolled-out progressively in 2018. This way, both new and existing license holders can learn about road safety knowledge and defensive driving with ease.  

PLM:                What is TP's enforcement approach?

SAC Tee:          We believe in deterrence. Clear and distinct reminder signs (some with blue blinking light) are displayed preceding all enforcement cameras. We also do not hide behind trees or bushes! I believe motorists welcome this change, knowing TP aims to safeguard their journey and not out to catch and fine them. We hope that such change will increasingly help our TP officers gain respect with the road users as ‘Guardians of the Roads’.  

PLM:                Is there anything you wish to highlight from the 2017 Annual Traffic Stats?

SAC Tee:          The roads are generally safer in 2017. The road fatality numbers are at a record low. I believe the ‘RoadSense' of road users have increased. We are very encouraged by the good results and will continue to work hard to improve road safety further.

PLM:                How do you upkeep the morale of TP officers?

SAC Tee:          Listen deeply and show genuine care and concern for the officers in both words and actions. You cannot fake such attributes. 

PLM:                What keeps you awake at night? 

SAC Tee:          The safety of my officers. They are on the roads 24/7, rain or shine and often have to perform hot pursuit and high-speed duties. We lost one of our comrades last year - Staff Sergeant Nadzrie Bin Matin. He was an outstanding officer and a fine young man. 

 PLM:                Ultimately, what do you hope to have achieved when you call time on your stint?

SAC Tee:          Safer roads for all.

PLM:                How do you adopt a work-life balance/harmony? 

SAC Tee:          I play golf when I can spare the time.  

PLM:                How would you convince someone to join the SPF?

SAC Tee:          Passion is what it takes to join us!   

PLM:                Any road safety advice to share with our readers?

SAC Tee:           Be more gracious on the roads. The roads will be safer if people do what is right and not just what is legally required. If we are capable of giving way to others on trains, buses and elsewhere, we are likewise capable of doing so on the roads.
Last Updated on 15 March 2018