Rules Of The Road: What Does The Law Say About Drunk Driving?

Rules Of The Road: What Does The Law Say About Drunk Driving?

Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous things one can do. Although many Filipinos love to bond over drinks, everyone knows driving under the influence is a bad behavior. This is because everyone knows it endangers oneself and many others.

Legal Basis

Back in 2013, the government enacted Republic Act 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act. To be brief: Drunk Driving = Illegal. Obviously. The Anti-Drunk Driving Act allows law enforcement to fine and imprison drivers caught driving under the influence. It also gives them permission to use breathalyzers and administer sobriety tests on drivers suspected of being under the influence.

Any driver suspected to be under the influence will first be asked to take a sobriety test. The sobriety test involves an eye test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand. Failing any of these leads to a breathalyzer test which measures blood alcohol level. (To find out how breathalyzers work, click here.)

For private vehicle drivers driving vehicles with gross weight not exceeding 4,500 kg (vehicles with gross weight exceeding 4,500 kg are categorized under trucks and buses), the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit permitted to them are 0.05% or less. For public-utility vehicle drivers, they are only permitted to 0.0%.

Penalties and Fines

For non-professional drivers who aren’t over the limit, their only penalty will be from any traffic violation committed. However, for drivers with non-professional licenses who go over the limit, their penalty is imprisonment for at least 3-months with a minimum ₱20,000 fine reaching up to ₱80,000. Their vehicle will be impounded and their license will be suspended for 12 months. Should injuries and/or fatalities be involved, the fine increases to within the range of ₱100,000 to ₱500,000 and they will be subject to longer jail terms.

As for drivers with professional licenses, the only difference is the BAC level limit. Should they be found guilty, licenses of the drivers involved will be revoked and fines will be given based on the incident present.

Overall, what the law says is that being caught drunk driving has a minimum 3-month jail time with ₱20,000 fine, both extending per physical injury or death. So, that’s a fair warning to all of us.

Maybe instead of taking “one for the road” and causing possible danger, try taking a cab or asking a friend to drive. Alternatively, maybe try not to drink out at all if you have no safe means of getting back home. After all, you wouldn’t want to bring any harm to your precious car or you. 

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