More than 2,300 motorists were arrested for drink driving in the first nine months of the year - a nine per cent increase over the same period a year ago. There were also 88 drink-driving accidents resulting in 16 deaths in the same period.
"This senseless loss of lives is preventable and we need to do more," said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli on Thursday evening. "Despite our reminders that drinking and driving do not mix, we still see many motorists taking their chances."
Urging motorists to enjoy year-end festivities in a "safe and responsible" manner at the launch of the STCars Anti-Drink Drive Campaign, Mr Masagos noted the revised sentencing guidelines spelt out in the High Court in September this year.
First-time offenders can face disqualification from driving for at least a year and a maximum $5,000 fine or six months in jail. Repeat offenders may be punished with a maximum fine of $30,000 and a mandatory jail term of up to three years. They may also be caned up to six strokes should death or serious injury be caused.
Motorists can also be charged with drink driving even if they are under the legal limit of 35 micrograms (ug) of alcohol per 100ml of breath, as long as they do not have proper control of the vehicle.
For the whole of last year, 2,917 people were arrested for drink driving, up from 2,735 in 2011.
"They risk losing their driving license and must re-take the full suite of theory and practical driving tests to obtain a new license," said Mr Masagos, who also presented the Singapore Road Safety Award, a new initiative by the Singapore Road Safety Council to commend efforts taken by organisations to promote good road safety practices, to PSA Corporation.
He also launched the Safer Roads Industry Taskforce, which he will be chairing, to look into work health-related issues, continuous training and education, vehicle engineering and infrastructural solutions to help drivers drive in a safer manner.