Drink driving offences down in first nine months

Traffic Police at a roadblock in Clemenceau Avenue checking on motorists to see if any are drink driving. They also gave responsible drivers goodie bags as part of efforts to encourage responsible driving during the festive season.
Traffic Police at a roadblock in Clemenceau Avenue checking on motorists to see if any are drink driving. They also gave responsible drivers goodie bags as part of efforts to encourage responsible driving during the festive season.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Number of deaths also falls; police credit sustained public education efforts for decline

Drink driving violations have fallen by 23 per cent to 1,785 for the first nine months this year, compared with the same period last year.

Figures from the Traffic Police show that there were fewer deaths from drink driving-related accidents from January to September this year as well - nine compared to 12 last year.

The Traffic Police attributed this drop to sustained public education efforts on the dangers of drink driving, such as by having campaigns and road safety talks.

Despite the decrease in drink driving violations and fatalities arising from them, the Traffic Police reminded drivers to be responsible on the roads during the festive season amid an ongoing enforcement exercise against drink drinking yesterday.

As part of the exercise, Traffic Police officers set up several road blocks across Singapore during the early hours of yesterday morning to target errant motorists found to be drink driving.

The Traffic Police also rolled out a new message for motorists this year: "If you drink, we trust you won't drive. Use your RoadSense."

The previous anti-drink driving message, in place since 2009, was "Don't drive to drink and you'll never drink and drive."

Assistant Superintendent Muhd Firdous Haniff, who headed the operations in Clemenceau Avenue near Clarke Quay, reminded motorists that drink driving is a very serious offence that carries severe penalties.

If convicted, drink drivers will be disqualified from driving for 12 to 48 months. They may also lose their driving licences. First-time offenders can be fined $1,000 to $5,000.

Repeat offenders may be fined up to $30,000 and face a mandatory jail term of up to three years. They may also be caned up to six strokes if death or serious injury is caused.

"We will not let down our efforts to detect drink drivers. It is everyone's responsibility to shape road culture, and everyone should be exercising the same responsibility to ensure that one does not drink and drive," he said.

Yesterday morning, more than 20 police officers were seen at the Clemenceau Avenue road block carrying out duties ranging from identifying possible drink drivers to testing them with handheld breathalysers.

Eighty drivers were stopped and tested for alcohol consumption during the islandwide operation. Sixteen of them, aged between 22 and 47, were arrested for drink driving.

The highest Breath Evidential Analyser test result was 79 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, which is more than twice the prescribed legal limit.

In a new initiative, which is part of an anti-drink driving campaign jointly organised by the Traffic Police, Singapore Road Safety Council and the AsiaOne website, small goodie bags were given out at the road blocks to commend responsible drivers.

Responsible drivers included those who had engaged a valet service after drinking.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2015, with the headline 'Drink driving offences down in first nine months'. Print Edition | Subscribe