Next month the government is set to implement the law against driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. The implementation of Republic Act 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act, to coincide with the observance of Road Safety Month, comes on the heels of the release of the law’s implementing rules and regulations.
With fatal road accidents a regular occurrence nationwide, the public welcomes the implementation of the new law. Drivers who are drunk or who take drugs to stay awake for long trips have been blamed for many fatal accidents particularly along steep, winding mountain roads.
Mandatory drug testing to obtain a driver’s license proved ineffective in preventing drug and alcohol use. Drivers simply took a break from their vices several days before applying for their license.
This time authorities will conduct random alcohol and drug testing among drivers of mass transport vehicles. Transport operators should cooperate in the tests. An erring driver can cost the company its franchise apart from large amounts to compensate victims.
Drivers of private vehicles should also welcome the new law as a measure for their own safety and those of their passengers. Private motorists can be pulled over by law enforcers and subjected to several types of tests for drug and alcohol use. Proper implementation of the new law should improve compliance with traffic rules.
As in other laws in this country, however, problems are expected in the implementation. Authorities must ensure that the new law will not be turned into a tool for police extortion. Even the minimum penalties of three months in prison and a fine of P20,000 can be too much for the average driver. Safeguards must be in place to prevent motorists from being framed for a shakedown.
The streets of Metro Manila and other parts of the country are full of reckless drivers. Properly implemented, RA 10586 is a welcome measure for improved road safety.