Published: 27 November 2019
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 to join you at the launch of this year’s Anti-Drink Drive Campaign.
2. This annual campaign is jointly organised by the Traffic Police and the Singapore Road Safety Council as part of the nation-wide effort to educate the public about the dangers of drink driving.
Improvement in Drink Driving Situation
3. In the first 9 months of 2019, there were 114 cases of drink-driving accidents, which resulted in fatalities or injuries. This was an improvement compared to 130 cases in the same period last year.
4. The number of offenders caught for drink-driving in the first 9 months of 2019 also fell to 1,486 from 1,568 for the same period in 2018.
5. I am very glad that we have reduced the number of drink-driving accidents and offences.
6. Nevertheless, every fatality or accident is still one too many.
7. Everyone has a part to play in preventing drink driving:
(a) Drivers should exercise responsibility by not driving after drinking.
(b) Non-drivers should remind the people around them not to drive if they know they have been drinking. They should also not take a lift from someone who has consumed alcohol and instead stop them from driving.
(c) Entertainment outlets should remind their customers not to drive after having drinks and provide alternative options like overnight parking or valet services. We understand that some outlets already do so, and we encourage more to offer similar services.
8. On the Government’s part, we will continue to educate and raise public awareness to this problem. For example, the Traffic Police works with LTA to broadcast anti drink-driving messages across the island such as on the electronic boards along expressways and main roads. In addition, the Traffic Police also organises events on a regular basis to reach out to the public, the most recent being the Roadsense Carnival at Ngee Ann City in July this year.
Increased Penalties under the Road Traffic Act
9. While public education will remain the cornerstone of our efforts against drink-driving, it also has to be backed by strong enforcement and tough penalties.
10. Parliament has recently passed the amendments to the Road Traffic Act in July this year, one of which was to increase the penalties to deter irresponsible and dangerous driving:
(a) We have doubled the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol, where a first time offender can now face up to a year in jail and/or a fine between $2,000 to $10,000 and be disqualified from driving for at least two years.
(b) Moreover, there will be higher penalties if this 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 term, with a minimum of 3 years jail, and be disqualified from driving for at least 12 years.
11. These amendments have been brought into force on the 1 November.
Heightened Risks of Drink Driving during Festive Period
12. As we enter the year-end festive period, many of us will be out celebrating with our friends and families, and some may also enjoy a couple of drinks.
13. It is therefore timely to remind all motorists that if you want to drink, please don’t drive. 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.
14. To conclude, I would like to thank the Singapore Road Safety Council and Traffic Police for organising this campaign, and Capitaland Limited for collaborating with us here today. Thank you all for your support towards the anti-drink drive cause.
15. Drink-driving can lead to serious consequences. We all know that. It sharply increases the likelihood of accidents, and endangers the lives of other road users. All our efforts are part of a holistic approach to combat drink-driving.
16. I hope that we can keep this in mind especially as we enter the festive season, and I wish everyone a pleasant evening and joyous and safe celebrations in the weeks ahead!Thank you.