Chairman, Singapore Road Safety Council, Mr Bernard Tay,
Commander Traffic Police, Senior Assistant Commissioner Gerald Lim,
Members, Sponsors, and Partners of the Singapore Road Safety Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
- It is my pleasure to join you, at the launch of this year’s Anti-Drink Drive Campaign at Zouk.
Heightened Risks of Drink-Driving during Festive Period
- The festive season is upon us, and many people will be out celebrating with families and friends. Some will gather at pubs and clubs, including Zouk. Others will hang out at private parties.
- It is common for people to have a drink or two, at times more. When the night is over, some of these people will still choose to climb behind the wheel—even though they are not in the best condition to drive.
- We all know what grave consequences await. Drink-driving sharply increases the likelihood of accidents, and endangers the lives of other road users.
- Drink-driving has continued to claim innocent lives. Recent victims include an elderly lady, who was collecting discarded cardboard along Collyer Quay; a taxi driver, who was involved in an accident along the PIE. The taxi driver was the sole breadwinner of his family; and a CISCO Security Officer, who was diverting traffic at Tuas Checkpoint.
- Drink-drivers also endanger their own lives. Earlier this year on separate occasions, two motorcyclists who were intoxicated lost control of their bikes, and sustained severe injuries that ended their lives.
- All these tragedies could have been avoided, had drivers and riders been responsible, and chosen not to drink-and-drive.
Public Education Efforts are Important
- We must do what we can, to stop such irresponsible behavior. This is why the Traffic Police and the Singapore Road Safety Council’s work is so terribly important.
- I am grateful for the Council’s efforts and contributions, and the generosity of your sponsors. Collectively, your efforts reinforce the message that to “Drink and Drive is a Deadly Mix”, and have made a difference to the situation on the ground.
- Your work has helped raised awareness of simple yet crucial principles that prevent drink-driving. Principles such as if you plan to drink—do not even bother driving to the venue; if you are with a person who wishes to drive home after a round of drinks—be a good friend and stop him from doing so; if you work in an entertainment outlet—be on the look-out for tipsy customers, and advise them firmly to use the valet service, or to take a taxi.
- Your public education efforts have contributed to bringing the drink-driving situation under control. From January to September this year, the number of drink-driving offenders arrested has decreased by about 2.5%, compared to the same period last year. I am heartened by the Council’s outreach efforts and their tangible impact.
Strong Enforcement and Tough Penalties against Drink-Driving will Remain
- Even though the number of individuals arrested for drink-driving has decreased, the number of victims are still large.
- Every drunk driver is a potential killer on our roads. He can cause great harm to himself and also innocent pedestrians, innocent motorists. In the first nine months of this year, on average, one person died each month arising from accidents related to drink driving. Every death is one too many.
- All in, we saw over 120 accidents related to drink-driving, which is a 20 percent increase from the first nine months of the previous year, and more than 1500 individuals apprehended. Most accidents happened as drink-drivers ran red lights and exceeded speed limits. This has to stop.
- Just last month, a young man was arrested for drink-driving when his car flipped onto its side along Bras Basah Road.
- Much remains to be done. Public education will remain the cornerstone of our efforts against drink-driving, and will be backed by strong enforcement and tough penalties.
- We are considering stiffer penalties and higher fines, longer disqualification periods and lengthier jail terms.
- There are serious penalties for those who drink-and-drive. Even if a driver does not get into an accident, he will face disqualification from driving for one year, a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail-term of up to 1 year.
- If the driver gets into an accident, there will be aggravated penalties, especially if he has harmed another person - steeper fines, disqualification for 20 years or more, longer jail-terms of up to 5 years.
- As I have said, we are considering stiffer penalties – higher fines, longer disqualification periods and lengthier jail terms. This will further strengthen the deterrent effect of our laws. This is necessary, when we consider the harm that has been caused to the victims and their families, as a result of the drivers’ irresponsible attitude.
- All our efforts - public education, enforcement, review of laws, are part of a holistic approach to combat drink-driving. This work is very important, because every life lost is one too many.
- I wish to thank Commander Gerald Lim, as well as his men and women for their hard work. So, thank you all for putting together this year’s Anti-Drink Driving Campaign. Let us all get the message out: to Drink and Drive is a Deadly Mix. Thank you.