Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act
You know the saying “don’t drink and drive”? Given the belief of many people that they can tolerate a large amount of alcohol and still be able to make solid decisions behind the wheel, they’ll drink… then drive.

What is Republic Act No. 10586?

Republic Act No. 10586, formally known as the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, is meant to penalize people driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and similar substances. While originally drafted into law in 2013, enforcement of the law did not begin until March 12, 2015.

Instances of driving under the influence occur more often in large cities like Metro Manila and Davao – hence the fact that most of the focus will be on larger metropolitan areas.

Here are some of the things you will need to know:

What is covered under the Act, and who can pull you over?

The law essentially prohibits driving while under the influence of alcohol; classified under the act as wines, beer, any distilled spirits that can cause intoxication upon consumption. It also prohibits the operation of a vehicle while under the influence of most drugs; ranging from cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine hydrochloride (meth/shabu) to over the counter, and prescription medication like Valium or Cough Medicine.

Under the Act, you can be pulled over by law enforcement officials, traffic enforcers, and the like. They can only do so if they have probable cause to believe you may be under the influence. Probable cause means cases where a driver is swerving through traffic, over-speeding, driving in stutters, or the evident smell of alcohol on one’s breath.

“Probable Cause” is somewhat broad, but binging on Margaritas and hanging your head out the window and lipsyncing to Adele’s “Someone Like You” is probably one of those very obvious signs that you’re drunk and shouldn’t be driving, at all.

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What happens when you’re caught driving under the influence?

In the event that you are caught driving under the influence, you will be subjected to a battery of tests to determine your sobriety at the time of the incident. These field sobriety tests appear to have been adopted from the US and consist of the following:

  • The Eye Test (“horizontal gaze nystagmus”): The driver will be asked to follow the movement of a penlight with his eyes, which basically tests for nystagmus – the involuntary jerkiness of the eyes, a common symptom when one is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • The Walk-and-Turn: A driver will be asked to walk a straight line forward – heel-to-toe – turn around, and walk back. Wobbliness or failure to complete the nine step walk can be an indicator of intoxication.
  • The One-Leg Stand: A driver will be asked to stand one-legged while keeping the other foot raised six inches above the ground for thirty seconds.

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Failure to complete the tests, and a breathalyzer exam can result in fines between P20,000 to P80,000, a three-month prison sentence, and a 12-month license suspension for non-professional drivers on the first offense. A second offense will result in one’s license being permanently revoked.

Individuals with a professional license suffer the same fines, but their license will be permanently revoked on the first instance.
The fines are steeper for those who figure in an accident, ranging from P100,000 to P200,000, and penalized under the Revised Penal Code. Those who figure in an accident that results in a homicide, the driver will be fined between P300,000 to P500,000,and penalized under the Revised Penal Code.

Note that figuring in a car accident while under the influence may also cause issues with any car insurance claims that are claimed.

The enforcement of the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act is meant to ensure the safety of people both inside a vehicle as well as those who may get caught in an accident. The truly responsible thing to do is to have a designated driver (someone in your party who either does not drink, or volunteers not to in order to be able to drive home), or call for a cab at the end of the night.

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