LTO on DUI law: Drivers' rights will be protected
MANILA – The Land Transportation Office (LTO) and its deputized agencies will begin using breath analyzers in detecting motorists suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol.
LTO spokesperson Jason Salvador said since the country's DUI law imposes heavy penalties and hefty fines, the LTO is making sure that the drivers will be protected from abusive law enforcers.
The LTO is the lead agency implementing Republic Act 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, but it will also tap the Philippine National Police, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and local government units in enforcing the law.
''Iniisip natin iyan kaya kailangan magtulungan tayo sa pagbabantay. Ang balak natin ay magtalaga ng composite teams, meaning pag nag field out ng teams, hindi lang basta LTO, PNP, or MMDA. Kailangan magkaka-iba sila, nang sa ganoon, sila-sila mismo ang magbabantayan, para hindi magkaroon ng collusion,'' Salvador told dzMM.
Here are some facts you need to know about the new law.
- Being caught driving drunk carries not only a hefty fine and suspension or revocation of license, it can also send someone to jail.
- Under the law, a non-professional driver found in violation of the law for the first time will be fined with P20,000 to P80,000, imprisoned for three months, and have his license suspended for a year.
- Lifetime revocation will be imposed on a second-time offender who carries a non-professional driver's license.
- A motorist carrying a professional license found violating the law, on the other hand, will face the same amount of fine and length of imprisonment, but his license will be revoked during the first offense.
- A drunk driver who figured in an accident which resulted in physical injuries shall be fined with P100,000 to P200,000 and be penalized under the Revised Penal Code.
- If a road accident resulted in homicide, a driver shall be fined with P300,000 to P500,000, and be penalized under the Revised Penal Code.
Salvador said 150 breath analyzers, which costs P68,500 each, were initially purchased by the government and will be distributed nationwide.
- Non-professional drivers found with blood alcohol content (BAH) exceeding 0.05 percent will be penalized. For motorcycle riders and professional drivers, it's 0.01 percent BAH.
- A breath analyzer shall only be used after a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol fails the three field sobriety tests – the horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye test), the walk-and-turn, and one-leg stand.
Salvador added that a traffic enforcer must first establish probable cause to order a motorist to pull over.
''Dapat maipaliwanag ang violation, kung ikaw ba ay weaving in an out of lane, nag-beat ng red light, overspeeding, reckless driving, etc.,'' he said.
- A motorist who will be subject to a blood alcohol content test must also ensure that the disposable mouthpiece of the breath analyzer is new.
''Huwag kayong papayag na gamit na ang mouthpiece, kasi unang-una, for hygiene purposes. Pangalawa, baka mag-false positive, kasi kung gamit na ng isang nakainom eh baka may maiwang residue, baka mag-positive ka,'' he said.
- The breath analyzer will print out three copies of the BAH test result – one each for the driver, apprehending officer, and LTO.
Salvador said agents will undergo re-training from March 10 to 12 before being deployed on March 12.
He said these agents have been trained to detect and deal with potential drunk drivers.