MANILA – The Philippine National Police- Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) reminded the country’s drivers on Monday about the policy “if you drive, don’t drink… and if you drink, don’t drive” to ensure the safety of provincial trips in observance of the Lenten season.
PNP-HPG spokesperson Supt. Elizabeth Velasquez said they will be arresting drivers who are under the influence of alcohol as they implement the rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10586, or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013.
Velasquez said that once the law is fully enforced, it will curb accidents on the road.
Based on the data of PNP-HPG, the number of road accidents had gone up to 15,573 in 2014 compared to 12,875 in 2013.
Velasquez said that 78 percent of the 15,573 accidents last year were discovered to be due to human error, specifically because of reckless driving.
On the other hand, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) data show most fatal accidents happen from midnight to 6 a.m. –- the time when most cases of drunk or drugged driving are recorded.
Under the IRR of R.A. 10586, the driver violators will face penalties ranging from three months to 20 years in prison and fines of PhP20,000 to PhP500,000.
Violators also face a 12-month suspension of non-professional driver’s license for the first offense and perpetual revocation for the second offense.
For professional drivers, a first offense would result in perpetual revocation of license.
The IRR provides for mandatory alcohol and drug testing of drivers involved in accidents that result in death or physical injuries.
The law also empowers the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to conduct random testing of public utility drivers at transport terminals nationwide.
An apprehended driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol will undergo eye test or the horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk-and-turn test and the one-leg stand.
The eye test requires the driver to follow with his gaze an object that the law enforcer moves horizontally around one foot away from the driver’s face.
The walk-and-turn test requires the driver to walk nine steps forward in a straight line, turn, then walk back the same distance without difficulty.
In the third test, the driver is required to stand on one leg and raise the other leg around six inches from the ground for about 60 seconds.
If the driver passes these tests, he would be apprehended for traffic violation only, and not for violation of R.A. 10586.
If the driver fails any of the tests, he would be subjected to an Alcohol Breath Analyzer test to determine his blood alcohol level.
A driver found to have a higher blood alcohol level than the prescribed limit would be arrested and his vehicle impounded.
In instances wherein a law enforcer has reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is under the influence of dangerous drugs, the driver would be brought to the nearest police station and subjected to a drug test.