Published: 09 December 2021
Chairman, Singapore Road Safety Council, Mr Bernard Tay,
Commander Traffic Police, Senior Assistant Commissioner Mr Gerald Lim,
Members, Sponsors, and Partners of the Singapore Road Safety Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. It is my pleasure today to join all of you at the launch of this year’s Anti-Drink Drive Campaign.
2. You know this annual campaign, organised by the Traffic Police and the Singapore Road Safety Council, is a timely reminder about the dangers of drink drinking, especially so as we approach the year-end festivities.
Dangers of Drink Driving
3. And during this festive season, many of us will be celebrating with our friends and our families. And some of us may even have a drink or two.
4. We all know the dangers of drink driving. Consumption of alcohol impairs our judgement, increases the likelihood of getting into accidents, and therefore endangering the lives of people around us.
5. Although we all can agree that drink driving is not good, there are still people who do it because they may be thinking, “I have only drank some alcohol and I should be all right”. Or they may be thinking that “I am not so unlucky right to get into an accident or to be stopped by the TP roadblock.” But these are dangerous ways of thinking, and have grave consequences that can follow.
6. The impact not just on the individual but on the family members of victims is very real, and words can hardly capture the sense of loss in their lives. Some of us will recall an episode in the Crime Watch where Mr Jailani Bin Osman shared his heart-wrenching account. Mr Jailani’s daughter, Ms Siti Fathana, was hit by a drunk driver in August 2011, and pronounced dead at the scene of accident. In Mr Jailani’s words, and I quote: “My daughter was only 25 years and she had a long way to go, but she was taken away all of a sudden and had not fulfilled her life. She was the jewel of the family.”
7. The consequences of drunk driving are not only felt by victims and their families, they are also felt by the drunk driver themselves. They not only have to grapple with the trauma of having caused and being involved in an accident, but also the guilt, disappointment, and the shame knowing their irresponsible actions may have severely hurt innocent parties.
Drink Driving Situation
8. In the first nine months of 2021, TP has caught over 1,000 persons for drink driving. This is about the same number as the same period last year.
9. We continue to remain concerned about the numbers of those injured and even killed.
a. In the first nine months of 2021, 117 people were injured in drink driving accidents, an increase from 103 over the same period last year in 2020.
b. On average, one person is killed every month due to an accident related to drink driving. This situation has remained unchanged between the first nine months of 2020 as well as this year 2021.
10. Every accident or fatality is one too many. Every victim is someone’s loved one, and no one should have to go through an ordeal of losing someone because of a traffic accident. As we have heard, this is especially tragic for those caused by drink driving, because every one of this accident is avoidable.
11. So amidst this festive period, I would like to ask that we do a few things, and encourage others to do likewise:
a. First, let us all decide to either drink or drive, but not both. If you expect to be drinking, then take the public transport, or ask a friend who is not drinking to give you a ride. Even if you do not get into any accident, drink driving is still a serious offence. A driver who drives under the influence of alcohol – even when no accident is involved – can be fined up to $10,000, or sentenced to up to a year in jail, or both, and be disqualified from driving for two years for a first offence.
b. Next, let us all remind each other and our friends who are driving to avoid drinking. If they do drink, offer to arrange public transport on their behalf. Or help them hire a car jockey to drive them and the car home.
c. And finally, we can remind each other to drink responsibly. Avoid drinking to excess, even as we celebrate during this festive season.
12. In closing, I would like to use this occasion to thank the Traffic Police for keeping our roads safe. Their job is not an easy one. It is challenging and sometimes even dangerous – but their professionalism is unwavering. While many of us enjoy the season’s festivities, they are hard at work, ensuring that our roads are safe for everyone. Recent incidents have driven home the risks they take to keep the rest of us safe on the roads:
a. On 28 October this year, a Traffic Police officer – Senior Staff Sergeant Haidil bin Osman – was hit by a reversing car while on his patrol bike, after having pursued the car for failing to stop for checks. The driver was later apprehended and is now being investigated for drug-related offences and offences under the Road Traffic Act.
13. I also want to acknowledge the contributions of all our partners, such as the Singapore Road Safety Council, and our Road Safety Champions for advocating for safer roads and more gracious road use behaviour. Even as we speak, our Traffic Police officers and Road Safety Champions are out conducting engagements on safer road use. Some will be distributing collaterals regarding safer and smarter road use habits, others will be engaging with members of the public at drinking hotspots to encourage the use of public transport after a night out.
14. Therefore, it is opportune to show our appreciation and respect for their work. In fact, one way we can really show appreciation for them is not to drink and drive! We will be doing ourselves and everyone around us a big favour.
15. Thank you everyone for attending and I wish you season’s greetings, and stay safe, and drive safe. Thank you.