Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly against the law but if you’ve been getting away with it because of lax implementation, your happy days are almost over.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has officially announced that starting March 12, 2015, those 150 units of extremely expensive breath alcohol analyzers or ‘breathalyzers’ will finally be put to use in testing drivers suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol who fail field sobriety tests.
Motorists using a non-professional drivers license with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over 0.05% will be arrested for a minimum of three months, fined a minimum of Php20,000, license suspended for 12 months and the vehicle impounded. In cases where DUI results in injuries and/or fatalities, fines ranging from Php100,000 to Php500,000 will be imposed on top of a longer jail term.
Those same penalties apply to drivers of trucks, buses, motorcycles and public utility vehicles with a professional license. But they must not have a BAC higher than 0.00, in other words no trace of alcohol in their body. Otherwise their license will immediately be revoked and penalties levied depending on the incident.
“Sa first instance, kung ikaw ay non-professional driver, kung napatunayan ka, first offense pa lang, kukumpiskahin namin lisensya mo at isusupinde ng labing-dalawang buwan o one year. Kung ikaw naman ay professional at [driver ng] pampublikong sasakyan, immediately natin 'to ire-revoke,” said LTO spokesperson Jason Salvador.
(In the first instance [of the offense], if you're holding a non-professional driver's license and it is proven [that you were drunk], your license will be suspended for 12 months or one year. If you hold a professional driver's license, it will be revoked immediately.")
Before getting tested with the breathalyzer, a driver is first subjected to field sobriety tests that include standing on one foot without falling, walking down a straight line, and following a moving object using only their eyes.
Failing any of these tests will result in a breathalyzer test, after which three copies of the result will be printed and used as evidence.
For their part, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will assist in the strict implementation of R.A. 10586.
“Meron po tayong bagong batas tungkol dyan (drunk driving). Ang kailangan ay tamang pagpapatupad, kailangan mas marami, dahil kung limited lang ang mga enforcers natin na magpapatupad, baka hindi kayanin. Sinasabi ko na handa nating tulungan ang LTO,” Said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
MMDA data indicates that majority of severe vehicular accidents occur between midnight and 6AM, which is the most common time for DUI incidents.