Fewer drink-driving accidents, offenders from Jan to Sept

The number of offenders caught for drink driving fell from 1,568 in the January to September period last year to 1,486 this year. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE
The number of offenders caught for drink driving fell from 1,568 in the January to September period last year to 1,486 this year. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE

Cases fall from same period last year; annual anti-drink driving campaign launched

Fewer drink-driving accidents occurred in the first nine months of this year, which saw 114 cases compared with 130 in the same period last year.

The number of offenders caught for drink driving also fell, from 1,568 in the same period last year to 1,486 this year, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling yesterday.

"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 mobile phone ring holders, which will be distributed to patrons of entertainment outlets during the year-end festive season.

Campaign messages will appear on electronic boards on expressways and in major roads to remind motorists to practise safe driving.

In her speech, Ms Sun, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development, reminded motorists not to drive if they are drinking during the 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 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 customers not to drive after drinking, and provide options like overnight parking or valet services, said Ms Sun.

She noted that Parliament passed harsher penalties for drink driving under amendments to the Road Traffic Act in July, and they have been in force since Nov 1. With the changes, penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol have been doubled.

A first-time offender faces up to a year in jail and/or a fine of $2,000 to $10,000. He can also be disqualified from driving for at least two years.

Penalties will 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."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2019, with the headline 'Fewer drink-driving accidents, offenders from Jan to Sept'. Print Edition | Subscribe