Anton Andres / | October 05, 2018 18:56
Despite new stiffer penalties on drunk driving, still few caught, charged
The most recent high-profile drunk driving incident saw a parking attendant fatally injured by a BMW SUV driven by Isabela Provincial Board Member Ed Christopher Siquian Go along Tomas Morato. Once he was apprehended, the driver had tested positive for driving under the influence of alcohol.
With yet another innocent life claimed by a drunk driver, this recent incident begs the question: have the measures put in place to reduce the incidence of driving under the influence been effective? How many, if any at all, were apprehended for violating the anti-drunk driving act? We have the supporting data.
From January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018, the LTO says that 101 motorists were caught violating the Act. 100 of those were first-time offenders but 1 person was a repeat offender. From June 30 onwards, there is no data just yet. The LTO's figures show that there are people being apprehended for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the authorities are doing their job. However, there's more to the figures than the 101 who were caught.
In the same memo from the LTO, it details that, since 2015, the agency has issued 756 breathalyzers to various regional offices and the Philippine National Police. The PNP alone has 215 breathalyzers ready to be deployed if needed. The LTO, on the other hand, has 44 while the NCR has 33. Also, there is a total of 818 personnel trained and deputized to handle the said devices.
So what do these figures suggest? Is the law being latent or are there not enough people and/or equipment to tackle the problem of driving under the influence?
One could argue that there are still not enough people to keep tabs on drunk drivers in the country. With 818 enforcers responsible for millions, there is a valid point to that perspective. Others may say that the limited numbers are still not an excuse for the families affected by drunk (or even high) drivers and that authorities should be more visible at peak 'drunk driving times'.
Regardless of what the opinion may be, drunk driving is a problem that needs to be taken seriously as scores are injured or killed each year due to the act.
The LTO has shared a full list of apprehensions, number of breathalyzers, and deputized officers.