Aquino signs anti-drunk driving law

Malacañan Palace

President Benigno S. Aquino III signed into law on May 27 Republic Act 10586 or the Act Penalizing Persons Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs, and Other Similar Substances to protect the public’s road safety from the ill-effect of these substances, a Palace announced on Thursday.

The new law mandates driver’s education to all getting licenses or renewing their licenses, Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in the press conference in Malacanang Thursday.

The driver’s education should now include the course on the information relative to safe driving, including the consequences of driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of the those substances, she said.

Under the new law, law enforcement agencies are empowered to conduct field sobriety, chemical, and confirmatory tests, Valte said.

A law enforcer, suspecting a driver to be driving under the influence may pull him over and could ask to undertake a sobriety test. Suspected individuals may be subjected to a breathalyzer to determine the alcoholic content in their system.

The law also mandates mandatory alcohol and chemical testing of drivers involved in motor vehicular accidents, whether it resulted in death or in physical injuries.

The law also calls for corollary acquisition of equipment to enforce the particular policy.

Violation resulting to physical injuries or death carries a penalty of three-month imprisonment and a fine ranging from P20,000 to P80,000, Valte said.

Stiffer fines are imposed against offenders that caused physical injury, Valte explained. The fine goes up to P100,000 to P200,000 and also longer jail time.

If the violation involves homicide, the fine goes up to P300,000 to P500,000 as well as imprisonment.

With the approval of the law, the Philippine Information Agency, the Land Transportation Office, and the local government units are mandated to conduct a nationwide information campaign for the effects and the parameters of the new law.

The law will take effect 15 days after publication either in the Official Gazette or in two newspapers of general circulation.

To protect the public from unscrupulous law enforcers who may take advantage of the implementation of the new law, Valte encouraged the public to report any abuse or wrongdoing by law enforcers.

“You can always report any law enforcement officer that will—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 new particular law,” she said.

Law enforcers will undergo training for the implementation of the new policy and money will be available to government agencies in purchasing equipment for the implementation of the law.