President Benigno Aquino 3rd has signed a law imposing heavy penalties against persons driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs.
In a press briefing, Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the President signed Republic Act 10586, or the “Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013,” on May 27.
The new law allows mandatory alcohol and drug testing for drivers involved in accidents that result in injury or death. A driver who refuses to undergo such tests will be penalized by confiscation and automatic revocation of driver’s license.
“The new law now mandates driver’s education to be part of either: One, to get a license; and, second, for your renewals,”she said.
“The driver’s education should now include the course on the information relative to safe driving, including the consequences of driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of the aforementioned substances,”she added.
Law enforcement authorities are also empowered to field sobriety, chemical and confirmatory tests on persons suspected to be driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, according to Valte.
The apparent indications that may compel such tests are overspeeding, weaving, lane straddling, sudden stops, swerving, poor coordination or the evident of smell of alcohol in a person’s breath or signs of use of illegal drugs.
If a driver fails in the sobriety tests, Valte said the law enforcement officer will test the driver’s alcohol level by using a breath analyzer. If the driver is believed to be under the influence of drugs, the officer will bring the driver to the nearest police station for a drug exam.
Under the new law, offenders who have not caused any physical injury or homicide shall be fined from P20,000 to P80,000 and face three months imprisonment.
If a drunk driver caused injuries, the penalty will be a fine ranging from P100,000 to P200,000 and imprisonment from three months to 12 years. Driving under the influence that lead to homicide, on the other hand, shall be fined from P300,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment from 12 years to 20 years.
A non-professional driver’s license shall also be confiscated and suspended for a period of 12 months for the first conviction and perpetually revoked for the second conviction, while a professional driver’s license shall also be confiscated and perpetually revoked for the first conviction.
The owner or operator of the vehicle driven by the offender shall also be directly and principally held liable unless he or she can prove extraordinary diligence in the selection of the driver.
Persons who will get or renew their drivers’ licenses will also have to complete a course on safe driving and consequences of driving under the influence.
To effectively implement the new law, Valte said the Land Transportation Office and Philippine National Police “may deputize traffic enforcement officers of the PNP plus the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and cities and municipalities in order to enforce the provisions of this act.”
The new law takes effect 15 days after publication in the Official Gazette or in two newspapers.