Drink driving claimed 12 lives in 10 months

Twelve people died as a result of drink-driving incidents from January to October this year, including six individuals who were not behind the wheel.

For the same period, 2,588 arrests were made for drink driving, according to figures revealed by Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Transport, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, at the launch of the STCars Anti-Drink Drive campaign yesterday.

Dr Faishal gave tips to motorists on how to reduce the temptation and opportunity to drive and drink. Besides advising motorists to leave their vehicles at home and take the train or bus if they plan to drink, he urged those hosting functions or events to offer the option of non-alcoholic drinks to guests who drive.

Dr Faishal advised people to "gently remind your friends and loved ones who have consumed alcohol to take alternative modes of transport instead of driving".

The campaign message this year continues to be, "Don't drive to drink. And you'll never drink and drive". This has been the tagline since 2009. The campaign theme this year is "Let the party go on".

Police statistics show that there were 3,019 drink-driving violations last year, compared with 2,917 such offences in 2012. There were 17 fatalities caused by drink driving last year, and 16 such deaths in 2012.

Drink driving is a "very serious offence and the penalties are severe", warned Dr Faishal.

Upon conviction, drink drivers will be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months and lose their driving licences. First-time offenders can be fined between $1,000 and $5,000, or jailed up to six months.

Repeat offenders can be fined up to $30,000 and face a mandatory jail term of up to three years. Repeat offenders also face up to six strokes of the cane if death or serious injury is caused from drink driving as well.

Traffic Police will step up anti-drink driving operations during the festive season.

amirh@sph.com.sg