The Philippines’ Republic Act No. 10586, otherwise known as the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law, is a law that prohibits drunk drivers and drug users from operating motor vehicles on the road in an attempt to reduce the number of accidents caused by drunk and drugged drivers.
Unfortunately, despite the tons of reminders against drinking and driving, they never seem enough. In 2022, the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Enforcement Unit of the Enforcement service managed by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) responded to 402 road crash incidents from January to August. Even the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) reported an increase of up to 90% in terms of the number of road accidents caused by drunk drivers, amounting to about 25% of road accidents in the Philippines.
What is RA 10586: Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013?
Republic Act No. 10586, also known as the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, is a law especially designed to prohibit and penalize people who drive under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and other similar substances. It prohibits driving if you have consumed wine, beer, or any other intoxicating distilled spirits, or has used cannabis or marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, or methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). The law also mandates a drug test for drivers involved in accidents or those whom the law enforcement officers believe to be under the influence of drugs
The RA 10586 is authored by Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and signed into law by the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. It was enacted in May 2013, with the goal of protecting the citizens’ lives and properties by promoting responsible and ethical driving and imposing penalties against those who drive under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and other similar substances. As a law, this is one of the government’s attempts to protect the safety of life and property, as well as the general welfare of the Filipinos through the observance of the citizenry of responsible and ethical driving standards.
Salient Points of the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law
To truly claim full understanding of the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law, listed below are its most important points, covering the scope and coverage as well as the information on what happens when you actually get pulled up for such an offense.
Scope and Coverage of the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law
According to RA 10586, it is illegal to drive under influence (DUI) or to operate motor vehicles while under the influence of either alcohol or prohibited or dangerous drugs. Doing so will entail getting charged as follows:
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA)
Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUIA) refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while drunk. By being drunk, this means that the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level has, after being subjected to the use of Breathalyzer, better known as the Alcohol Breath Analyzer (ABA) test, reached the level of intoxication, as established jointly by the rules created by the Department of Health (DOH), the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
For this purpose, a driver of a private motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight not exceeding 4500 kg. a BAC of 0.05% or higher shall be conclusive proof that said driver is driving under the influence of alcohol. On the other hand, drivers of trucks, buses, motorcycles, and public utility vehicles with a BAC of more than 0.0% shall be conclusive proof that said driver is driving under the influence of alcohol.
Driving under the influence of dangerous drugs and other similar substances (DUID)
Driving under the influence of dangerous drugs and other similar substances (DUID) refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle while the driver, after being subjected to a screening and a confirmatory test, is found to be positive for use of any dangerous drug. By definition, dangerous drugs refer to drugs listed in the schedules annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, and in the schedules annexed to the 1971 Single Convention of Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in its attachment which is an integral part of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002″ and those that the Dangerous Drugs Board may reclassify, add to or remove from the list of dangerous drugs.
In cases of apprehensions for DUI, the following procedures will be observed in accordnace with the law:
Step 1: Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) establishes probable cause.
By establishing probable cause, the LEO decides that there is reasonable ground to believe that the person driving the motor vehicle is under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances upon personally witnessing a traffic offense.
Some traffic offenses that may merit the attention of LEOs include:
- lane straddling
- making sudden stops
- weaving in such an apparent way as to indicate that the driver is under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances.
Step 2: Upon personal determination of probable cause, a deputized LEO shall flag down the motor vehicle, direct the driver to step out of the vehicle and determine whether or not the driver is drunk or drugged.
In the course of apprehension for another traffic offense, some other telltale signs of DUI include:
- evident smell of alcohol in a driver’s breath,
- generally slurred speech in response to questioning,
- bloodshot or reddish eyes,
- flushed face,
- poor coordination,
- difficulty in understanding and responding intelligently to questions
Step 3: In any case, the burden of proof to establish the existence of probable cause is on the LEO.
If the LEO has reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is drunk: The LEO shall expressly inform the driver of his assessment and the driver shall be directed to perform all of the following field sobriety tests on site.
Field Sobriety Tests
The conduct of the following standardized field sobriety test will determine whether the apprehended driver drank too much alcohol or took drugs at the time of the incident.
The sobriety test consists of the following:
The Eye Test (“horizontal gaze nystagmus”)
The Eye Test (“horizontal gaze nystagmus”) refers to horizontal or lateral jerking of the driver’s eyes as he or she gazes sideways following a moving object. To conduct this test, the LEO moves an object like a pen or the tip of a penlight from side to side while being held from a distance of about one (1) foot away from the face of the driver. The apprehended driver will pass the test if he is able to follow the object with his eyes without the involuntary jerkiness common among those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Walk-and-Turn requires the driver to walk heel-to-toe along a straight line for nine (9) steps, turn at the end and return to the point of origin without any difficulty. This demonstrates the driver’s ability to maintain his balance and prove that there are no drugs or alcohol in his system. Wobbliness or failure to complete the nine-step walk is a possible indicator of intoxication.
The One-Leg Stand
For the last test, the One-Leg Stand requires the driver to stand on either right or left leg with both arms on the side. The driver must be able to keep his foot raised about six (6) inches off the ground for thirty (30) seconds to prove his balance and coordination.
If the driver passes all of the three (3) field sobriety tests: The driver shall be issued traffic tickets only for the traffic offense that got him pulled over for.
If the driver fails any of the sobriety tests: The driver is then subjected to the breathalyzer or ABA test. This test uses a device called the ABA, more commonly known as the breathalyzer, to analyze the amount of alcohol in the blood through the breath.
If the driver registers a BAC higher than the prescribed limit: The LEO impound the vehicle, arrest the driver, and turn the case over to the police officer-on-duty in the nearest police station with the following:
1. A complaint/charge sheet;
2. Results of the field sobriety tests/ABA test in the prescribed format;
3. Inventory of items under temporary custody (to include motor vehicle when necessary); and
4. Other pertinent documents.
If the driver registers a BAC within the prescribed limit: The driver shall be apprehended for the other traffic offense he was pulled up for.
If the LEO has reasonable grounds to believe that the driver is intoxicated with drugs or other similar substances: The LEO shall bring the driver to the nearest police station for a drug screening test.
In cases of positive confirmation of drug use: the LEO shall accomplish the following preparatory to the turnover of the case to the police officer-on-duty of the nearest police station:
1. Results of the conduct of the DRP in the prescribed format;
2. Inventory of items under temporary custody (to include motor vehicle when necessary); and
3. Other pertinent documents.
In cases without positive confirmation of drug use: The driver shall be apprehended for the other traffic offense only and not for violation of this Act.
Note: Those who refuse to take the field sobriety or drug screening test will have their driver’s license confiscated and revoked.
If the apprehended driver speeds off after getting flagged and it results in a chase, then he will also have to face charges for resistance to persons in authority and obstruction on public roads, which is an MMDA traffic violation.
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
The law also imposes the following penalties, depending on the offense committed:
- If you fail the field sobriety tests, the breathalyzer exam, and the drug test: you’ll be fined between ₱50,000 and ₱100,000 and given a six-month prison sentence.
- If you caused an injury while drunk driving: you’ll face imprisonment and steeper fines ranging from ₱150,000 to ₱250,000.
- If you caused an accident that resulted in homicide: you’ll be imprisoned and fined between ₱350,000 to ₱500,000. Any subsequent car insurance claims may also be rejected.
- If you are a non-professional driver’s license holder: Your license will be confiscated and suspended for 18 months for the first conviction and permanently revoked for the second.
- If you are a professional driver’s license holder: Your license will be confiscated and permanently revoked for the first conviction and can no longer apply for another license in the future.
Driver’s License Custody
All driver’s licenses confiscated under these rules shall be turned over to LTO for safekeeping and shall be released by LTO only after final disposition or lawful order of the courts.
For your reference, here are some important reminders related to the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law:
- In case of apprehension, a driver, who has undergone and passed the field sobriety test and/or ABA test, cannot be subjected to drug screening test afterwards.
- Likewise, a driver who has undergone and passed the drug test, cannot be subjected to a field sobriety test and/or ABA test afterwards.
- If you are planning to drink, don’t drive.
- If you can’t avoid drinking, don’t drink on an empty stomach and consume a lot of water.
- If you can’t pace yourself from consuming alcohol, just book a cab, spend the night at a friend’s place, or have a designated driver.
Driving your own car is a luxury, but it also comes with responsibilities. As a driver, you are accountable for a lot of things—including the safety not just of the people inside the car but also of the others on the road. That said, the government has enacted the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law or the Republic Act No. 10586 which makes it illegal for anyone to drink and drive or take drugs and drive. The law also imposes appropriate apprehension procedures and penalties. By following the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law, you can keep everyone—including yourself—safe and you can also avoid having to settle traffic violations and paying hefty LTO fees.