Published: 01 December 2016
A very good evening, Mr Julian Tan, Executive Vice President, Digital Division of the Singapore Press Holdings
Sponsors, partners, guests, members of the Singapore Road Safety Council, colleagues.
It is my pleasure to join all of you at the launch of the SgCarMart Anti-Drink Drive Campaign 2016.
1. With the festive season around the corner, many people will be celebrating with families and friends. Some people may choose to have a drink or two, and others perhaps more, but this is a message we repeat year after year, in different forms. It is clear that we must be responsible not to drink and drive. The two are not compatible.
2. The Traffic Police, together with the Singapore Road Safety Council, organise this annual Anti-Drink Drive Campaign to remind and discourage those who consume alcoholic drinks from driving or riding.
3. From January to September this year, the Traffic Police have apprehended 1,540 motorists for drink-driving. Now, this is 13% lower than the same period last year. While this drop is encouraging, drink-driving still remains a concern.
4. Drink-driving, as we all know, increases the likelihood of accidents, which can lead to injuries and loss of lives of drivers and their passengers, as well as of innocent victims. For the first nine months of this year, there were 103 drink-driving related accidents, which resulted in 3 very sad fatalities. Every single life lost is one too many. This senseless loss of lives is preventable.
5. The Traffic Police is tackling this on three fronts. First, continuous public education such as this campaign. Finding the words, finding the occasion, finding the medium that will communicate this message, this timeless message in different forms for different generations. Second, enforcement and deterrence through stiff penalties. Third, engagement with stakeholders by partnering entertainment outlet operators.
Drink-Driving Has Serious Consequences
6. Drink-driving has serious consequences. Lives have been lost or ruined, because of the irresponsible actions of drink-drivers. Let me just cite one very sad recent unfortunate case.
7. In the wee hours of the morning in March last year, a car drove into a broken-down taxi along the PIE. The resulting accident left the victim bed-ridden for about eight months before he passed away, leaving behind his very devastated family. The driver of the car that caused the accident had been drinking. And in fact, this was not the first time as he had also been caught for drink-driving in 2010.
8. We cannot tolerate this kind of irresponsible behaviour. In this case, the drink-driver was sentenced to four months' imprisonment, fined $4,000, and disqualified from driving for eight years.
Review of the Road Traffic Act
9. When we think of the harm that has been caused to the victim and his family, and the irresponsible attitude of the driver, it is very clear that we need to take a tougher stance against such acts. The Government will review the existing penalties for the various road traffic offences stipulated in the Road Traffic Act. In particular, we will seek to increase the penalties for offences that result in death or hurt to others, especially in cases where the drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or are repeat offenders.
10. We will also press for more severe penalties for such cases. We want these stiffer penalties to serve as a strong deterrent against drink-driving. People who use the road - ordinary people, responsible people, ought to be able to stay safe when driving on the roads and not be put at peril because of those who behave irresponsibly. So the penalties have to reflect that as a deterrence and we hope to ensure the safety of the roads.
There are Other Options to Drink-Driving
11. All of us can play a key role in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe on the roads. We need to exercise self-discipline by not drinking and driving at the same time. We need to remind those around us who intend to consume alcohol to leave their vehicles at home. We should never take a lift from someone who has consumed alcohol, and instead, care enough for him or her and his family and friends, to stop them from driving. There are many other options to drink-driving, all it takes is some proper planning. We can designate a driver amongst friends, take public transport or taxis, and use valet services or car jockeys. With apps, these opportunities and options present themselves.
12. Entertainment outlets have a role too, to remind customers not to drink and drive, and provide options such as overnight parking and valet services.
13. I am pleased to see many corporate sponsors and partners here with us this evening. Thank you for your strong support towards the anti-drink driving campaign and other road safety campaigns held this year. I would also like to thank the many volunteers from our Singapore Road Safety Council and Traffic Police for organising this campaign which comes at a good time. It serves as a timely reminder to all of us to be responsible road users, for ourselves and for others, for the sake of our family and friends. On this note, I wish you all a happy festive season, a good year ahead and safe driving!
14. Thank you.