MANILA - President Aquino has signed Republic Act 10586, a law that penalizes drivers under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and/or other similar substances.
Entitled the “Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013,” the law mandates field sobriety tests for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs. (Section 6)
It also mandates alcohol and chemical testing of drivers involved in vehicular accidents resulting in deaths or physical injuries. (Section 7)
It allows the Land Transportation Office to conduct random terminal inspections and quick random tests of public utility drivers nationwide. (Section 15)
The LTO may deputize traffic enforcers of the PNP, MMDA, and local government units to enforce the provisions of the law. (Section 10)
Under Section 6, a law enforcer may conduct field sobriety tests for drivers suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances by “apparent indications and manifestations.”
This includes speeding, weaving, lane straddling, sudden stops, swerving, poor coordination or the evident smell of alcohol in the driver’s breath, “or signs of use of dangerous drugs and other similar substances.”
“Field sobriety tests” is defined in the law as “standardized tests to initially assess and determine intoxication, such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus, the walk-and-turn, the one-leg stand, and other similar tests as determined jointly by the DOH, the NAPOLCOM, and the DOTC.”
If the driver fails in the field sobriety test, the law enforcer shall implement the “mandatory determination of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level through the use of a breath analyzer or similar measuring instrument.”
The driver may be brought to the nearest police station “to be subjected to a drug screening test and, if necessary, a drug confirmatory test as mandated under Republic Act No. 9165.”
Meantime, Section 7 mandates a chemical test of drivers involved in a vehicular accident resulting in deaths or physical injuries.
Refusal of a driver to undergo the tests shall be penalized by the confiscation and automatic revocation the driver’s license, among other penalties.
Nonprofessional drivers driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs shall have his driver’s license confiscated and suspended for a period of 12 months for the first conviction and perpetually revoked for the second conviction.
Professional drivers, meanwhile, shall have his license confiscated and perpetually revoked for the first conviction.
If the violation against drunk and drugged driving did not result in physical injuries or homicide, the penalty will be three months imprisonment and a fine ranging from P20,000 to P80,000.
Those that resulted in physical injuries may involve penalties ranging from P100,000 to P200,000 while those that resulted in homicide involve fines ranging from P300,000 to P500,000. These would also include fines as spelled out in the Revised Penal Code.
Under Section 13, the owner and/or operator of the vehicle driven by the offender “shall be directly and principally held liable together with the offender” unless the owner proves that “extraordinary diligence” was exercised in the selection and supervision of the offending driver.
Section 11 of the law mandates the LTO and PNP to conduct training seminars for enforcers and deputies for the proper conduct of field sobriety tests and breath analyzer tests every year.
Asked how enforcers can be prevented from abusing the law and using it as a means to extort drivers, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said, “Safety nets. Of course, you can always report any law enforcement officer that will—that is of the mind to abuse this particular new law. The grievance mechanisms are in place and we do encourage the reporting of law enforcement officers who may want to take advantage of this particular law.”
The new law was authored at the House of Representatives by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and son Dato.