Drink-driving checks may be conducted any time, anywhere

Posted on December 22, 2017.

A yellow Porsche car was travelling in an unsteady fashion, raising the suspicions of uniformed Traffic Police officers. They stopped the vehicle and later arrested the driver – a 49-year-old man – for alleged drink driving.

The driver was among those nabbed along Kallang Road in an islandwide enforcement operation from 4pm to after 10pm yesterday.

Through such patrols and roadblocks, conducted at multiple areas, including near public entertainment outlets and the heartland, the police hoped to send a warning to those thinking of drinking excessively before they drive, especially during the festive season.

Superintendent Ho Yenn Dar, head of the Traffic Police’s Operations and Training Branch, said: “We want to send out the message that the Traffic Police conducts checks not only at roadblocks, in the city and in the wee hours, but also in the heartland and at all times of the day. This is because many drivers have the misconception that checks are conducted only at certain areas and at certain times.”

Such efforts appear to have paid off, as there were fewer drink driving-related accidents in the first nine months of the year.

The number fell from 111 between January and September last year to 70 in the same period this year. The number of deaths or injuries also declined, from 165 in the first nine months of last year to 96 this year.

This comes on the back of a longer-term decline in drink-driving offences since 2014.

For instance, there were 182 fatal and non-fatal accidents related to drink driving in 2014, compared with 138 cases in 2015, and 147 cases last year. A total of 264 people died or were injured in these accidents in 2014, compared with 179 in 2015 and 211 last year.

The media was invited to observe the enforcement operations against drink driving in areas including Punggol and Clarke Quay.

Another driver was stopped near Rumbia LRT station at around 8.30pm for driving unsteadily, but was let off after he passed a breathalyser test.

Drink drivers, upon conviction, will lose their driving licences and be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months.

Repeat offenders may be punished with a maximum fine of $30,000 and a mandatory jail term of up to three years. They may receive up to six strokes of the cane if death or serious injury has occurred.

In a recent case, a Mercedes-Benz driver was charged with drink driving when his car mounted a divider along Tanjong Pagar Road and hit four people.

Supt Ho said: “The Traffic Police will step up enforcement action against irresponsible drink drivers who put themselves and other road users at risk… Those who persist to drink and drive will face the full consequences of the law.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline ‘Drink-driving checks may be conducted any time, anywhere’.