A few years back, the Land Transporation Office (LTO) extended the validity of driver's licenses from three to five years. Soon though, you may be able to have a driver's license valid for up to ten years. It's not for everyone though. In order to earn a 10-year driver's license, you must not have committed any traffic violations and not incurred any demerit points.
Yes, you read that right. The LTO will be implementing a demerit point system for driver's licenses based on Republic Act 10930, 'An act rationalizing and strengthening the policy regarding driver's license by extending the validity period of driver's licenses, and penalizing acts in violation of its issuance and application for those purposes Section 23 of Republic Act No. 4136 as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 398 and Executive Order No. 1011, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.'
According to the agency, the new law and demerit point system will ensure that only “deserving applicants with sufficient driving skills and knowledge on road safety and proper road courtesy” are issued a driver's license.
Similar to how other countries deal with motorists, traffic violators will receive a demerit point (or more) on their license for each violation. Points incurred will be accumulated throughout the validity period of the license, but will revert back to zero upon renewal of the driver's license. However, the LTO says all points incurred will be archived and form part of the driver's permanent record.
The LTO has three categories of violations: Grave Violations worth 5 demerit points, Less Grave Violations worth 3 demerit points, and Light Violations worth 1 demerit point. For those wondering what violation falls under Grave, Less Grave or Light, you may check out the appendix below.
Drivers who have accumulated at least 5 points will be required to take a complete reorientation course by the LTO before they are allowed to renew their license. Those who accumulate 10 or more demerit points shall be required to pass the theoretical examination on top of the reorientation course. Meanwhile, a driver who has accumulated at least 40 demerit points will automatically have his license revoked by the agency.
It won't be limited to drivers of private vehicles though. Drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) will be dealt with double demerit points for every traffic violation committed while using a PUV. Meanwhile, those with a student-permit can also receive demerit points. Student drivers who incur at least 5 demerit points during the validity of their permit will have their permits revoked. The student driver will also be banned from applying for one year.
According to the R.A. 10930, demerit points won't be immediately recorded. Drivers will have the opportunity to contest the violations they have within a certain period. Demerit points will only be recorded if the person admits to the violation or loses the adjudication.
So, if you want to get that 10-year driver's license, better be a good driver on the road so you won't get any demerit points in your license.
You may read R.A. 10930 in full here. and see the full list of violations below.