Text: Brent Co / Photos: Brent Co | posted May 17, 2014 00:24
Rules on apprehension and rights outlined, effective June 1, 2014
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has finally published the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act (RA 10586) nearly after a year the law was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III. The law imposes strict penalties for drivers who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances.
The implementing rules were jointly drafted by the DOTC, National Police Commission (through DILG secretary Mar Roxas) and Health Secretary Enrique Ona. It has been released in time for the Land Transport Safety and Accident Prevention Month of May as proclaimed by late President Ferdinand Marcos in 1967.
"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 Secretary of Transportation and Communications Jun Abaya.
The IRR outlines the sobriety tests a suspected drunk driver will have to undergo once apprehended by a deputized traffic officer.
Under the IRR, an apprehended driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol will be subjected to three 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 foot away from the driver’s face;
- the Walk-and-Turn Test, which requires the driver to walk nine 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 inches from the ground for about 60 seconds.
In case the driver passes the test, he shall only be charged with his/her traffic violation and not a violation of RA 10586. If the driver fails any of the three tests, an Alcohol Breath Analyzer (ABA or 'breathalyzer') Test shall be done to determine the blood alcohol level of the driver.
- Drivers of private motor vehicles below 4,500 kg are allowed a limit below 0.05%.
- Public Utility Vehicle (PUV), truck, bus and motorcycle drivers will be given a strict 0.00% limit.
If a driver is found to have exceeded the allowed limits, he/she shall be arrested and the vehicle will be impounded. Otherwise, if found to be within allowed limits, driver shall be apprehended for the traffic violation only.
In instances where the law enforcer suspects within reasonable grounds, the driver to be under the influence of drugs or other substances, he/she will be brought to the nearest police station for a drug screening test in accordance with existing laws.
Penalties for violation of the law range from a minimum of a three-month imprisonment plus a P20,000 fine to a P500,000 and up to 20 years of incarceration. The driver’s license for a non-professional will also be suspended for 12 months for the first offense and a permanent revocation for the second offense. For professional driver’s license holders, it will be revoked even after the first offense,
The IRR provides for mandatory alcohol and drug testing of drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents resulting in physical injuries or death. It also allows the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to randomly conduct testing of public utility drivers at transport terminals nationwide.
The Anti Drunk and Drugged Driving Law will be in full effect starting June 1.