SINGAPORE - Fewer drink-driving accidents occurred in the first nine months of this year, with 114 cases compared to 130 in the same period last year.
The number of offenders caught for drink driving also fell, from 1,568 to 1,486 in the same period, said Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and for National Development, on Wednesday (Nov 27).
"Nevertheless, every fatality or accident is still one too many," said Ms Sun at the launch of the annual anti-drink-driving campaign in Clarke Quay.
The campaign, organised by the Traffic Police and the Singapore Road Safety Council, is a continuation of last year's, with the tagline, Drink and Drive is a Deadly Mix.
The tagline will be featured on items such as ez-link cards, keychains and handphone ring holders, which will be distributed to patrons of entertainment outlets during the festive season.
Campaign messages will also be displayed on electronic boards along expressways and major roads to remind motorists to practise safe driving.
In her speech, Ms Sun reminded motorists not to drive if they are drinking during the year-end festive period.
"Even a small amount of alcohol can affect your ability to drive safely - your judgment and ability to react to the changing situations on the road will be impaired," she added.
She also urged non-drivers to remind those around them not to drive if they know they have been drinking, and not to take a lift from someone who has consumed alcohol and instead stop them from driving.
Entertainment outlets should also remind their customers not to drive after drinking, and provide options like overnight parking or valet services, said Ms Sun.
She also noted that Parliament recently passed harsher penalties for drink driving under amendments to the Road Traffic Act in July, which have been in force since Nov 1.
Under the changes, penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol have been doubled. A first-time offender can face up to a year in jail, and/or a fine of between $2,000 and $10,000. He can also be disqualified from driving for at least two years.
Penalties will also be higher if drink driving results in harm.
For example, if a driver drives dangerously while under the influence of alcohol and causes death, he can be sentenced to up to 10 years' jail, with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years' jail. He can also be disqualified from driving for at least 12 years.
"Drink driving can lead to serious consequences. It sharply increases the likelihood of accidents, and endangers the lives of other road users," said Ms Sun.
"All our efforts are part of a holistic approach to combat drink driving."