Rules vs Drunk and Drugged Driving

Hopefully this new law would be implemented in full swing and not to become another idle law with no budget allocations and ignored (or unaware of) even by the law enforcers.

Coinciding with the Road Safety Month of May as designated in Presidential Proclamation 115-A, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) today published the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) No. 10586, otherwise known as the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act, which penalizes drivers who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances.

“This will permit law enforcers to begin implementing the safety measures imposed by RA 10586.  Among other things, it limits the allowable blood alcohol level to below 0.05% for most drivers.  In the case of drivers of buses and other public utility vehicles, however, they cannot have any amount of alcohol in their blood at all, since people’s lives are in their hands” said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya.

The IRR was drafted jointly by the DOTC, the National Police Commission through its Chairman, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona.

Under the IRR, an apprehended driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol will be subjected to three (3) field sobriety tests:

    • The Eye Test (or “horizontal gaze nystagmus”), which requires the driver to follow with his gaze an object that the law enforcer moves horizontally, around one (1) foot away from the driver’s face;
    • The Walk-and-Turn Test, which requires the driver to walk nine (9) steps forward in a straight line, turn, then walk back the same distance without difficulty; and
    • The One-Leg Stand, which requires the driver to stand on one leg and raise the other around six (6) inches from the ground for about sixty (60) seconds.

If the driver passes these tests, he will be apprehended for his traffic violation only, and not for a violation of RA 10586.  In case, however, that the driver fails any of the 3 tests, he will then be subjected to an Alcohol Breath Analyzer (ABA or “breathalyzer”) Test.  An ABA refers to equipment which can determine the blood alcohol level of a person through the testing of his breath.

The ABA test will verify whether the driver is in violation of the following blood alcohol level limits:

VEHICLE OF DRIVER

ALLOWED LIMIT

Private motor vehicle below 4,500 kg.

Below 0.05%

Public Utility Vehicles, Trucks, Buses, Motorcycles

0.0%

A driver who is found to have a higher blood alcohol level than the prescribed limits above will be put under arrest and his vehicle impounded.  Otherwise, if he is found to be within allowed limits, he will be apprehended for his traffic violation only.

In instances wherein a law enforcer has reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is under the influence of dangerous drugs or other substances, the driver shall be brought to the nearest police station, where he will be subjected to a drug screening test in accordance with existing laws.

The penalties for violations of RA 10586 range from a minimum of a 3-month imprisonment plus a P 20,000 fine, to a maximum of a 20-year imprisonment plus a P 500,000 fine.  It will also entail a 12-month suspension of a non-professional driver’s license for the first offense, and perpetual revocation for a second offense.  For professional driver’s licenses, the first offense alone will result in perpetual revocation.

The IRR provides for mandatory alcohol and drug testing of drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents which result in death or physical injuries.  It also empowers the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to conduct random testing of public utility drivers at transport terminals nationwide.

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