A 30-day suspension of a driver’s license shall be imposed by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) if a driver has been caught with violations grave enough to merit the temporary ban of his privilege to drive. It’s not always the first line of penalty, but some driver’s just deserve some penalizing time off the roads.
As an agency whose main job is to ensure road safety by enforcing rules and regulatory policies, the LTO carries out its mandate by watching over the Philippine public roads and implementing policies to reduce the risks and dangers on the road. Sure, it doesn’t always result in suspension of license, but depending on the gravity of the offense, licenses may also be suspended or temporarily seized due to the commission of a traffic violation.
What does the Suspension of Driver’s License mean
Suspension of the LTO driver’s license in the Philippines refers to the temporary seizure of the license card issued to drivers to prove their roadworthiness. This is usually imposed as a penalty for various reasons. The period of suspension as well as the mode of appeal may vary, depending upon the type of violation, the type of driver’s license classification (student permit, professional, or non-professional), as well as the gravity of the offense or violation incurred. In all cases, however, the driver is given a recourse under the law to appeal the driver’s license suspension or question the validity of the suspension of the driver’s license.
Authority to Suspend and Entertain Appeals on Driver’s License
As the main enforcing agency for land transport and regulation, the LTO holds the exclusive authority to revoke and suspend a license. By virtue of R.A. 4136, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the LTO Commissioner not only has the power to issue licenses but also holds exclusive authority to revoke licenses of drivers involved in violation of traffic rules and regulation. The power to suspend license may also be delegated to LTO deputies, provided that the suspension does not exceed a maximum of three (3) months. However, if the driver violated any provisions of RA 4136, the Commissioner or the municipal ordinances relating to traffic rules and regulations may also impose suspension at least three times within a year for not more than two years.
The license suspension imposed by any LTO deputy may also be appealed to the Commissioner of LTO, who may either modify, reverse, or confirm the suspension. In case of the LTO Commissioner’s revocation or refusal to reinstate a revoked license, the affected individual may appeal it straight to the Secretary of Public Works Communication to overturn the decision.
Common Reasons for License Suspension in the Philippines
To avoid all the hassle associated with driver’s license suspension and appeal to reverse it, it is essential for one to be aware of the reasons for driver license suspension in the Philippines in order to avoid it.
To this end, here’s a list of the most common reasons that would get you ending up with a suspended driver’s license in the Philippines.
One of the most common reasons for license suspension is point accumulation. This happens when the holder of a license reaches a certain number of demerit points within a given period of time, due to the number of minor and major traffic violations that the licensee has committed. It could come from any violations, though one of the most common violations that drivers struggle with is overspeeding.
If you are a license holder and you keep on violating the same rule, or violate a particular rule along with others, this will eventually lead to accumulated demerit points and eventual suspension of your driver’s license. Needless to say, the length of the license suspension that you may be forced to face would depend on the number of points that you have accumulated as the license holder.
Therefore, knowing and following the traffic rules and regulations in the Philippines is a must, especially if you don’t want to lose your license to suspension.
Habitual Offense/Repeat Violations
Yet another common cause of driver’s license suspension is the habitual offense or repeat violations of traffic rules and regulations. If you are a licensed driver and you repeatedly commit a specific offense within a certain period of time, regardless if it’s deliberate or not, then you can expect to get your license suspended.
One good example of violations that are repeatedly committed by many licensees is reckless driving. Otherwise known as driving beyond the speed limit without regards for safety and road conditions, reckless driving is a common LTO violation punished as follows:
- P 2,000.00 for first offense
- P 3,000.00 for second offense and suspension of driver’s license for three (3) months.
- P 10,000.00 for third and subsequent offense. Further, a suspension of driver’s license for six (6) months for third offense reckoned from the payment of fine shall be imposed.
Another type of violation generally committed repeatedly by license holders is the violation of the Seat Belt Use Act. According to the law, drivers and passengers must wear the prescribed seatbelt and children, aged six (6) years old or below, cannot sit in the passenger seat. Unfortunately, not many people feel compelled to follow this law, resulting in multiple commissions of the same violation. Although the first two instances when the offenses are committed only warrant imposable fines, the third offense will result in the driver’s license’s suspension for one (1) week, counted from the time of the payment of the LTO fine.
Other than the violations, there are some instances when the driver’s license suspension is automatically and immediately applied, otherwise known as Automatic Suspension. These reasons include the following:
Failure to pay within 15 days
As per the provisions of the LTO’s Joint Administrative Order (JAI) no. 2014-01, in case of apprehensions, drivers who fail to pay the corresponding LTO violation fee within 15 days would result in automatic driver license suspension in the Philippines. Under the same law, a person caught driving when his license is suspended is guilty of the offense of ‘driving without license’ which would entail yet another set of penalties.
This offense is punishable by a fine of P 3,000.00 and a further penalty of disqualification from driving a motor vehicle for a period of one year from the date of the payment of the imposed fine. Driving when your driver’s license is suspended also poses a certain punishment, tagged as ‘driving without license,’ so it is best not to drive until you get your license back.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
There are also some serious traffic violations that warrant the immediate suspension of a driver’s license. Some examples of these include:
- driving under the influence of dangerous drugs or alcohol
- vehicular manslaughter, and
- evading police checkpoints, may lead to automatic license suspension or revocation.
DUI, in particular, is very common despite the dangers. That said, the driver’s license may be suspended for being in control of the vehicle when you are not in your best state due to alcohol.
The suspension of the driver’s license is also without prejudice to the filing of appropriate criminal cases to the traffic violators. In case of non-professional drivers, those who drive under the influence of alcohol and dangerous drugs, when proven guilty by the court of competent jurisdiction, the suspension will last for twelve (12) months for first conviction. The second conviction would warrant a perpetual revocation of driver’s license.
LTO Records that do not reflect actual individual information
A driver’s license holder whose driving record fails to match the actual driver’s personal information may also be suspended for having an inaccurate record. According to the provisions of Section 25 of RA 4136, the driver records should bear the following accurate information:
- Driver’s address;
- Name and address of employer;
- Motor vehicle’s number authorized to operate for professional driver’s license holder;
- Other information that the LTO Commissioner may require.
Unauthorized to operate the subject vehicle
According to Section 27 of RA 4136, an LTO driver’s license may also be suspended when the LTO Commissioner has a reason to believe that the license holder of a professional driver’s license is not the person authorized to operate the subject motor vehicle. Operation of vehicles not authorized under the license classification authorized to the licensee will merit a fine of two hundred pesos and suspension of driver’s license for a period of three months for the first conviction; a fine of three hundred pesos and six months imprisonment of one year and permanent revocation of the driver’s license for the third conviction.
Also, the fact that the motor vehicle is operating, or is being used as an accessory in committing a crime may be subject to suspension, without prejudice to the appropriate criminal charge/s that may be filed against the driver. The suspension should not be more than three months and subject for appeal to the LTO Commissioner.
Pursuant to the same law (RA 4136), if the subject vehicle is said to be improperly equipped, marked, or unfit to operate due to possible damages it may cause to culverts, bridges, or highways, the Commissioner or the apprehending officer may also suspend the license of the driver.
Confiscation of License
According to the provisions of RA 4136, law enforcement and peace officers of other agencies deputized by the LTO Director may confiscate licenses when apprehending a driver for any violation of this RA 4136 or any traffic regulations or local traffic rules and regulations issued not contrary to any provisions of this Act, and issue a receipt, otherwise known as Temporary Operator’s Permit (TOP) prescribed and issued by the Bureau. The TOP is issued to authorize the driver to operate a motor vehicle for a period not exceeding seventy-two (72) hours from the time and date of issue of said receipt. The period affixed in the receipt shall not be extended, and shall become invalid afterwards. Failure of the driver to settle his case within fifteen (15) days from the date of apprehension will be grounds for the suspension and/or revocation of his license.
How to check if the Driver’s license is suspended
One of the most common questions asked by drivers is how to check if a driver’s license is suspended. This is where the importance of the traffic violation receipt or TOP issued by a traffic officer comes in. In all cases of suspension of driver’s license in the Philippines, the officer in charge issues a receipt. The receipt not only allows the person to operate the subject motor vehicle for at most seventy-two (72) hours from the time of the issuance of the receipt, but also proves if the license is no longer usable or already suspended. If the driver doesn’t settle the case within the designated period, then it would result in a graver penalty – license revocation.
Revoked vs. Suspended License
To differentiate revoked driver’s license and suspended driver’s license, it is important to note that the suspension is the lighter penalty between the two. After all, the revocation of license put it in the state of being disqualified to be a grantee of license for two years in case of nonprofessional driver’s license and perpetual disqualification to get another license for professional driver’s license. Unless the driver has issued a bond, the suspension or revocation would not be lifted.
Owning a driver’s license is a privilege afforded by the Philippine government, via the LTO, to those who deserve it. That said, the Philippine government, through the same agency, has the power to take it back. In fact, even the LTO deputized agencies may suspend a license for a limited period of time. A 30-day suspension of a driver’s license may also be automatically applied in cases of serious violations or those that are grave enough to merit a temporary ban to drive. It’s not always the first line of penalty, but some driver’s just deserve some penalizing time off the roads. To avoid it, it’s best to know the rules, not to break them, but to ensure that you don’t lose your license and the privileges that come with it.