Increase penalties for drink driving and speeding

Despite years of creating public awareness on the dangers of speeding and drink driving, it seems many drivers still persist in risking not just their lives but also those of others ("Car crashes into newly restored church's outer wall"; Nov 23, "45-year-old driver of blue Lamborghini arrested for overtaking recklessly on expressway"; ST Online, Oct 12, and "Man convicted again of drink driving gets jail, $18,600 fine"; Dec 24, 2015)

While new guidelines on penalties were introduced about three years ago ("Cheers to guidelines on drink driving penalties"; Oct 13, 2013), more can be done to punish the culprits.

We can take a leaf from the book of countries like Japan, which has some of the toughest drink driving laws in the world. There, it is a crime to serve alcohol to a driver or even to ride in a car with someone who has been drinking.

Driving while intoxicated can result in a jail term of up to five years or a fine, while riding as a passenger in a vehicle operated by an intoxicated person attracts a jail term of up to three years or a fine.

For those who lose their loved ones because of errant drivers, the pain, grief and hardship felt may be permanent, while for the perpetrators, the penalties are transient.

Europe has tough laws on speeding. In Switzerland, for instance, speeding fines take into account the motorist's income as well as the speed of the vehicle.

For those who lose their loved ones because of errant drivers, the pain, grief and hardship felt may be permanent, while for the perpetrators, the penalties are transient.

We must take a firm stand on road safety.

Felix Kim Heok Eng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2016, with the headline 'Increase penalties for drink driving and speeding'. Print Edition | Subscribe