-- ILLUSTRATION: ISTOCKPHOTO, LEE CHEE CHEW
DRIVERS who are aggressive, send text messages while driving or drink before they get behind the wheel are making Singapore's roads increasingly dangerous.
Nearly two-thirds of motorists surveyed in February said those were the reasons they felt less safe on the road these days.
Insurer AXA polled 458 motorists - mostly private car owners - and found 62 per cent believed that the situation had worsened from "a few years ago".
Among these, nearly three-quarters blamed "more aggressive drivers". But the most unsafe form of driving behaviour was found to be "driving after having more than the recommended alcohol intake", followed by text messaging at the wheel and "checking phone/tablet frequently for updates and notifications".
When asked to confess their own dangerous driving habits, six in 10 admitted to running an amber light.
Exceeding speed limits by more than 10kmh came in second, and answering the phone without a hands-free set was third.
More than a quarter also admitted checking their mobile devices or tablets while driving, often because they needed to answer work messages urgently.
AXA Singapore chief corporate responsibility officer Li Choo Kwek-Perroy said the survey "revealed some interesting insights on drivers' perception of safety on the roads and their personal driving behaviour".
"It is important that drivers recognise the habits that can be dangerous to other road users, and that drivers realise that safety on the roads largely depends on them," she said.
Yet the majority of drivers still feel law enforcement and stiff penalties are the greatest motivation to drive safely.
Demerit points ranked higher than consideration for the safety of others when it came to driving influences.
Police may already realise this, as they are planning to roll out more speed cameras and junction cameras to nab offenders. They have short-listed 140 roads where new speed cameras may be installed. Many of these roads are within housing estates.
AXA, meanwhile, has introduced a free mobile app to promote safe driving.
AXA Drive, which can be downloaded from Apple iTunes and Google Play stores, is a GPS-based accelerometer sensor (which measures acceleration forces) to monitor a user's driving behaviour, and also provides driving tips.
Drivers launch the app on their mobile phones at the start of a journey. At the end of it, the gad-get rates their driving skills, based on acceleration, braking and turning intensity.
A sharp turn or hard braking, for example, will result in a lower score than a slower and smoother journey.
Automobile Association of Singapore chief executive Lee Wai Mun said the association welcomes any initiative to improve road safety.
He said changing driver beha-viour is one of the keys to making roads safer.