Road accident victim’s sister urges drivers to avoid frosty windscreen

Neha Santasalo (L) and Jasjot Singhota (Photo: Metropolitan Police).
Neha Santasalo (L) and Jasjot Singhota (Photo: Metropolitan Police).

THE sister of a junior doctor who lost her life after being struck by a car on a zebra crossing has on Monday (6) urged drivers to clear frost from their car windscreens.

Jasjot Singhota, 30, suffered serious internal bleeding with head injuries when she was thrown into the air by the collision near her residence in Tulse Hill, South East London, in January 2017.

She was struck by a driver who set off in his car in the morning with his view of the road massively obstructed by frost on his windscreen.

Singhota was airlifted away from the accident spot, and doctors fought for eight hours to save her – but she died.

Having grown up in Bedford, the victim had studied medicine at Edinburgh.

The driver, Alexander Fitzgerald, 27, did not see her before the crash. He was later jailed for 10 months.

Singhota’s sister Neha Santasalo paid tribute to the anaesthetist on Monday (6), who worked at St Thomas’ Hospital in London.

Dr Jasjot Singhota (Photo: Metropolitan Police).

Santasalo spoke out as she supported the Metropolitan Police launching a new initiative urging best practices from road users before they set off, called #ReadyForTheRoad.

Santasalo said: “My sister’s death was entirely unnecessary, and if I can help save one life or prevent serious injuries on the road through this message, then I will be proud to have that as part of her legacy and life-long commitment to helping people, and to prevent another family from having to go through what ours did.”

“…There is no substitute for spending a few minutes before your winter journey to make sure your vehicle is safe and ready for the road. Simple and affordable purchases like an ice scraper and de-icer spray can make all the difference to keeping you and other people who use the roads safe.

“Sitting down and turning on your car’s windscreen wipers and heater on to defrost is not enough. Be responsible: look after yourself, your family and other road users by clearing all your windows of any frost, ice and snow, and ensure your side mirrors are clearly visible.”

Detective Superintendent Andy Cox, who leads the Met’s road and transport policing command, said: “Those who set off and drive carelessly could be liable for an on-the-spot £100 fine and three penalty points. More serious cases go to court and could result in a fine of up to £2,500 and disqualification.

“Also, if you are involved in a collision and found to be responsible for careless driving, you will be prosecuted. This could result in a driving ban, an unlimited fine, or a prison sentence of up to five years.”

Commenting on the accident that killed Jasjot, Cox noted: “The man behind the wheel of the car that killed Jasjot was sent to prison, banned from driving and has to live the rest of his life knowing that his actions led to the death of a gifted doctor who had her whole life ahead of her.

“The driver was travelling with frost on his windscreen that had not been adequately cleared; he did not notice Jasjot on a zebra crossing and carried on, colliding with her and causing her fatal injuries. The collision was entirely avoidable if only some time had been taken to prepare the car for the trip ahead.”

Last year, 2,089 drivers were stopped at the roadside in London by the Met police and subject to a traffic offence report for driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration to others.

In 2018, 112 people were killed and a further 3,954 suffered serious injuries on London’s roads.

The number of people killed while walking fell from 73 to 56, but still makes up a shocking 50 per cent of all deaths.

Twelve people were killed while cycling in 2018, with a further 770 suffering serious injuries.