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Penalties for Drink Driving in Singapore



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Motorists in Singapore caught drink driving are being given stiffer jail sentences and increased fines and penalties.

Drink drivers are one of the “biggest contributors” to serious accidents on Singapore’s roads. Therefore, harsher penalties have been imposed by the Singapore courts on those who drive under the influence of drink or drugs. on average, one person a month dies on our roads as a result of drink driving. According to the Traffic Police, the main causes of fatal and injury-related accidents are drink driving, running red lights and exceeding speed limits.

Penalties for drink driving

Given the horrendous consequences that could result from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, public education is ongoing to eradicate this behaviour.

Stiff penalties are also in place to deter the habit.

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Singapore will warrant:

· a maximum of one year imprisonment, or

· a fine of up to S$10,000, or both, for first-time offenders;

· and a ban from driving for at least two years (unless otherwise decided by the courts).

For repeat offenders, they will face:

· up to two years in jail,

· and be fined up to $20,000;

· as well as face a ban from driving for at least five years (unless otherwise decided by the courts).

If the driver gets into an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol, the penalties for a drink driving offence are heavier, especially if anyone dies or is harmed, with steeper fines, longer disqualifications and longer jail terms.

Dangerous or Careless Driving whilst ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI)

A first-time offender convicted of dangerous driving causing death or grievous hurt under Section 64 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 will be liable for up to eight years in jail (in the case of death caused) or up to 5 years in jail (in the case of grievous hurt caused). He/she will also be disqualified from driving for at least ten years (in the case of death caused) or eight years (in the case of grievous hurt caused).

If a dangerous or careless driving offence was committed while the motorist was driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, the motorist is considered a serious offender and liable for additional penalties, which may run consecutively.

For instance, a first-time serious offender who causes death or grievous hurt by dangerous driving, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, will face (in the case of death caused) an extra maximum jail term of two years, and another minimum disqualification period of two years or (in the case of grievous hurt caused) a fine of up to $10,000 and an extra maximum jail term of one year and another minimum disqualification period of two years. For dangerous driving while DUI where death to another person was caused, the penalty can total up to 10 years in prison and 12 years disqualification from driving. Repeat serious offenders may be given up to double the sentence and longer disqualification periods including possible disqualification for life for third-time DUI offenders.

Drink drivers kept off the roads for a longer period. Here’s how:

Licence suspended

You can have your driving licence immediately suspended by the Traffic Police if caught Driving Under the Influence (DUI). This will prevent irresponsible motorists from being able to still drive right up until the courts have decided on their case.

Car forfeited

You can also have your vehicle forfeited by order of the court if you had committed the offences of dangerous or careless driving while DUI.

Disqualified or banned from driving

The minimum disqualification period for a first-time offence of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is two years unless the court has special reasons to impose a shorter disqualification period or not impose a driving ban.

Drink driving and your car insurance

As drink driving is illegal, most insurers will not pay for damages, injuries or loss resulting from accidents involving drink drivers no matter what type of car insurance you have, including comprehensive car insurance. So aside from facing legal penalties, offenders also risk having to pay out tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, vehicle repair costs and medical expenses.

Alternatives to driving after a drink

Using a ride-hailing app such as Grab or calling a cab is an easy solution. 9 times out of 10, it’s possible to hitch a ride within minutes from anywhere in Singapore.

What is drink driving?

Under section 67 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (RTA), you are guilty of drink driving if:

1. you are unfit to drive under the influence of alcohol to the extent that you are incapable of having proper control of your vehicle, even if you are under the legally prescribed alcohol limit; or

2. the alcohol in your body exceeds the prescribed alcohol limit.

The prescribed alcohol limit is:

· 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath; or

· 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (blood alcohol content “BAC”)

Factors like your sex, weight, metabolism and how much you’ve eaten all contribute to how your body processes alcohol. But generally, as a rule of thumb, two very small glasses of wine would be enough to put you over the limit. Experts advise, however, that no amount of alcohol is safe and that motorists should not drink at all when driving.

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