Do not drink and drive. That's one thing we're told even before we get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, there are instances of driving under the influence, even while the country is still in community lockdown.

According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) general manager Arturo “Jojo” Garcia, driving under the influence is one of the common causes of road accidents. He also said that alcohol was one of the common factors in EDSA concrete barrier-related accidents. The general manager stated that during a virtual presser, although there was no mention of the number of drunk drivers hitting the barriers.

To curb these instances, the MMDA wants to set up random checkpoints to weed out the drunk drivers from the sober motorists. It is a proposal for now, but the agency is keen to put it in action. Garcia added, if this plan is approved, these checkpoints will likely be placed during curfew hours. He also said that the DUI checkpoints will be placed in random locations in Metro Manila once they get the go signal.

The MMDA wants to clamp down hard on drunk drivers, too. If a motorist is proven to be drunk behind the wheel, the agency is gunning for criminal charges, or even jail time, for the driver. The proposed checkpoints will have breathalyzers on standby to obtain proof of drunk driving. These checkpoints will have MMDA constables, PNP-HPG officers, and LTO enforcers present.

Garcia also cited distracted driving as another common cause for EDSA barrier crashes. “Nung kinompute namin mula sa accidents na yan, lalong lalo na yung sa mga barrier nga, kadalasan kung hindi naka-inom, nagte-text (When we analyzed these accidents, specifically those involving concrete barriers, they were mostly drunk or texting),” said Garcia.

Despite the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), there are still those who bring out their mobile phones and use them while driving. There have been thousands caught violating the Act, but cases are still pouring in daily. The penalty for breaking this law carries a Php 5,000 fine for the first offense. Repeat offenses may even lead to the suspension of a driver's license.

So, the message of the MMDA is clear: stay sober and keep your eyes on the road. Besides, you wouldn't want these guys billing you a fine, or worse, crash into one of their barriers and be thrown in jail.

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