The mandatory drug testing for applicants of driver’s licenses is an added financial burden to responsible motorists and a failed anti-drug campaign of the government, Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd said Sunday.
Sotto, who authored the Senate’s version of the anti-drunk and drugged driving act which was recently signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, made the observation following the pronouncement of Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Virginia Torres that the agency will retain the drug testing requirement for driver’s license applicants.
Sotto said the enactment of Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 has revoked an inutile provision in the Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 which required mandatory drug testing for drivers’ license applicants.
Sotto was referring to subparagraph (a) of Section 36 of Republic Act No. 9165 which states that “no driver’s license shall be issued or renewed to any person unless he/she presents a certification that he/she has undergone a mandatory drug test and indicating thereon that he/she is free from the use of dangerous drugs;”
Sotto said it is clear that RA 10586 scraps the provision requiring drivers to undergo mandatory drug testing.
He said the drug test has become a waste of money for motorists as well as an ineffective requirement, citing data from the Department of Health and the Dangerous Drugs Board.
Data showed that out of millions driver’s license applicants tested a mere 0.06 percent tested positive for drugs from 2002 to 2010.
Sotto attributed the low figure to the fact that drug users already know what to do to pass the drug test.
Another reason is that accredited drug testing centers do not have the kits capable of tracing high-end drugs like cocaine, ketamine, Ecstasy and heroin. The centers can only detect marijuana and methamphetamine from urine samples.
There are also drug testing centers which do not require applicants to personally take the test in exchange for a bribe.
“The increasing number of vehicular accidents and road mishaps involving drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs refute the low positive results,” Sotto said.
He made it clear that the enactment of RA 10586 will not totally scrap the drug testing requirement although it would now be on a case to case basis.