MMDA readies to apprehend drunk drivers

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A Metro Manila Development Authority constable conducts a breathalyzer test on a volunteer. The device is widely used worldwide to measure the alcohol content of a person suspected of drunk driving, and will now be used in the country after President Benigno Aquino 3rd signed into law the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Friday expressed readiness for the implementation of the newly-enacted law against drunk driving.

MMDA General Manager Corazon Jimenez said the agency has started coordinating with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) on how to conduct sobriety tests on drivers suspected of drunk driving.

“With proper coordination, hopefully we will be able to improve the campaign against drunk driving,” she said.

Jimenez said the MMDA has six breath analyzers that could be used to test if the drivers were driving under the influence of liquor or illegal drugs.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Thursday signed into law Republic Act No. 10586, otherwise known as the “Act Penalizing Persons Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs and Other Similar Substances.”

The anti-drunk and -drugged driving law will take effect 15 days after its publication.

Jimenez expressed belief that with the implementation of the law, drunk driving-related road accidents would be decreased.

“With the introduction of this law, we believe that it can help reduce the number of accidents involving drunk drivers,” Jimenez added.

She also lauded the stiff penalty being imposed under the law wherein violators will be slapped with fines as high as P500,000 with a corresponding jail term.

With the stiff penalty, Jimenez said this will help curb the number of drunk driving related incidents.

Based on MMDA’s data, at least 398 accidents caused by drunk drivers were recorded from 2005 to 2012.

In the said figures, 20 were reported fatal, 203 were severely injured while 175 caused damage to property.

Meanwhile, Malacanang said there was no politicking involved in the signing of the new law, which was principally authored former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo.

Deputy Presidential spokesman Abigail Valte was reacting to some critics’ claim that Aquino’s signing of Arroyo’s pet measure without any ceremonies was deliberate.

Valte noted that the President signs many laws without a formal ceremony.

“The law should not be mixed with politics. Everyone knows that President Aquino has approved many laws without ceremonial signing,” she explained.

WITH A REPORT FROM CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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