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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 25 May 2007

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920 persons arrested for drink driving in 1st quarter 2007


Oral Answer to Parliamentary Question on an update on the measures taken to manage the increasing number of drink driving cases, 22 May 2007

Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether he can provide an update on the measures taken to manage the increasing number of drink driving cases.
Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee:
The number of persons arrested for drink driving increased by about 30% during the same period, from about 2930 persons in 2004 to 3730 persons in 2006.
For the first quarter of 2007, SPF arrested 920 persons for drink driving, an increase of 22% over the same period in 2006. Slight injury accidents related to drink driving increased from about 200 cases in 2004 to 260 cases in 2006.
Fatal and serious injury accidents related to drink driving have remained stable over the past 3 years, registering 38 cases, 28 cases and 32 cases in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively.
Traffic Police (TP) has intensified its efforts to curb drink driving, adopting a 3-pronged approach, that is, legislation, enforcement and education.
Legislation is constantly reviewed to ensure that they remain relevant and provide adequate deterrence to road users.
In 1990, MHA strengthened the Road Traffic Act or RTA to increase the penalties for drink driving, in particularly, to impose mandatory jail term for repeat offenders.
In 1996, when breath alcohol concentration measurement equipment became more reliable, the RTA was amended to include the use of breath alcohol levels as evidence. A provision was added that as long as a driver has a blood or breath alcohol concentration higher than a prescribed limit, he would be guilty of an offence.
Traffic Police will complement tough laws with rigorous enforcement efforts to curb drink driving. Hence road blocks are conducted island-wide every night with more road blocks conducted on weekends, holidays and during the festive periods, when motorists are more likely to drink and drive.
Education to influence the mindset of road users is a more effective long-term solution towards reducing drink driving cases.
As part of TP¡¯s on-going effort to spread anti-drink-drive messages, TP and the Police Licensing Division have implemented a new scheme that requires selected classes of liquor licence holders to display anti drink driving posters at their licensed premises starting 1 July 2006. These anti-drink driving posters serve to remind patrons of the serious consequences of drink driving. All classes of liquor licence holders will be included in the scheme in December this year.
In recent years, TP has also adopted a targeted approach in its anti-drink drive education efforts. For example, TP has been working closely with the key stakeholders to drive home the anti-drink driving message.
Some key initiatives include arranging with taxi operators to provide taxi services at various entertainment outlets, country clubs and restaurants, and appealing to hotels, discotheques, pubs, karaoke lounges, night clubs and other entertainment outlets to look after their drunk patrons by arranging for taxis or car jockeys to send their patrons home.
Anti Drink Driving messages have also been disseminated through various platforms, such as television commercials, radio broadcasts, newspapers, banners, posters and other forms of outdoor advertisements.
All of us can play a part to curb drink driving. For example, when friends visit a pub, they can designate someone amongst them to drive. Make this the ¡°cool thing¡± to do.
Family members can constantly remind their loved ones not to drive when they drink. Indeed, if anyone sees friends and loved ones who have drunk try to drive, they should stop them. As in the case of drugs, we must adopt a zero tolerance approach to drink driving.

Source: Press Release 22 May 2007

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