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Stiffer penalties for drink-driving under review in Singapore



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So far this year, one person a month has died on our roads as a result of drink driving.

These were the stark figures announced at the launch of this year’s anti drink driving campaign entitled “Drink and Drive is a Deadly Mix”. The campaign is part of the Singapore Traffic Police outreach efforts during the festive season, to remind motorists that drink driving is an irresponsible act which puts themselves and other road users in danger.

In addition to their outreach efforts, the Traffic Police said they will continue to conduct enforcement operations to detect and deter drink-drivers.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Sun Xueling, said: “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.”

He added: “Public education will remain a cornerstone of our efforts against drink driving, and will be backed by strong enforcement and tough penalties…We are considering stiffer penalties – higher fines, longer disqualification periods and lengthier jail terms.”

What is drink driving?

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

  1. are unfit to drive under the influence of alcohol to the extent that you are incapable of having proper control of your vehicle.
  2. exceed the prescribed alcohol limit.

The prescribed alcohol limit is:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath
  • 80 mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood

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 small glasses of wine would be enough to put you over the limit.

Penalties for drink driving

Given the horrendous consequences that could result from driving under the influence of alcohol, public education is ongoing to eradicate this behaviour. Stiff penalties are also in place to deter the habit.

Currently, anyone caught drink driving will be disqualified from driving for a year, and can be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for up to a year.

If the driver gets into an accident, the penalties are heavier, especially if anyone is harmed, with steeper fines, disqualification for at least 20 years, and jail terms of up to five years.

Drink driving and your car insurance

As drink driving is illegal, insurers will not pay for damages, injuries or loss resulting from such accidents. You’ll have to fork out the expenses yourself, not to speak of facing the possibility of being jailed.

Alternatives to driving after a drink

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

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