MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente C Sotto III stressed that there is no more mandatory drug testing needed when one applies or renews for a driver’s license.
In a press release on Sunday, June 23, Sotto, the principal author of Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, said that the new law does not only remove a “useless requirement but also allows motorists a respite from costly drug tests.”
The senator issued the statement following an statement by Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Virginia Torres that driver’s license applicants will still need to undergo drug testing.
Sotto explained the Repealing Clause in RA 10586 specifically stated, “the clause on mandatory drug testing was among those deemed inconsistent with the new law.”
Signed into law last May 30 by President Benigno Aquino III, R.A. 10586 states that “drug testing will only be conducted for those driving under the influence (DUI) as determined by law enforcement authorities based on certain manifestations, like overspeeding, weaving, lane straddling, swerving and others.”
Section 6 of the R.A. 10586 states that:
“if the driver fails in the sobriety tests, it shall be the duty of the law enforcement officer to implement the mandatory determination of the driver’s blood alcohol concentration level through the use of a breath analyzer or similar measuring instrument.”
R.A. 10586 also provided mandatory tests for drivers involved in vehicular accidents to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“We want a safer environment to everyone—drivers, pedestrians and the general public. Too many lives have been wasted and lost because of drunken driving or driving while under the influence of drugs,” he said.
Waste of Money
Sotto pointed out that “the mandatory drug test has become a waste of money for motorists as well as an ineffective requirement, citing data mined from the Department of Health and the Dangerous Drug Board.”
“The mandatory drug test has not served its purpose,” he said.
According to Sotto, data showed that out of millions tested, a mere 0.06% resulted to positive results in the drug tests conducted by the LTO covering the period 2002 to 2010.
He said the low figure could be due to the fact that “drug users tend to refrain from usage during the period leading to the application for or renewal of their driver’s license.”
“Yet, the increasing number of vehicular accidents and road mishaps involving drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs refute the low positive results,” he said.
Sotto added “they are able to ‘come clean’ during the drug test. It has led to a mockery of the drug test requirement.”
R.A. 10586 states that those who refuse to undergo tests would be charged and fined accordingly. Tasked to implement RA 10856 include the National Police, and those deputized by the LTO.
Penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) range from 3 months in prison and a fine of P20, 000 to perpetual revocation of the driver’s license, a fine of P500, 000 and longer prison term.