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Drug test no longer mandatory for driver's license application - Sotto
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – The new Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 has in effect revoked an inutile provision in the Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 that required mandatory drug testing for those applying for or renewing their driver’s license, Senator Vicente Sotto III said Sunday.

Reacting to a statement by an official of the Land Transportation Office that driver’s license applicants will still need to undergo drug testing, Sotto said: “The new law not only removed a useless requirement but also allowed motorists a respite from costly drug tests.”

He said Republic Act 10586 expressedly revoked Section 36 (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which mandated the drug testing.

Data from the Department of Health, the Dangerous Drug Board, and the Land Transportation Office covering the period 2002-2010, of the millions tested a mere 0.06% showed signs of drug use.

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,” Sotto said.

Yet, the increasing number of vehicular collisions involving drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs refute the low positive results, he said.

“They are able to ‘come clean’ during the drug test. It has led to a mockery of the drug test requirement,” he said.

“The mandatory drug test has not served its purpose,” Sotto said.

Signed into law last May 30 by President Aquino, RA 10586 states that drug testing will only be conducted on those driving under the influence (DUI) as determined by law enforcement authorities based on certain manifestations, like overspeeding, weaving, lane straddling, swerving, and others.

“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,” the newly-enacted law states.

It also provides mandatory tests for drivers involved in vehicular collisions to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Such cases allow for a more effective way of apprehending motorists under the influnce of drugs and alcohol, Sotto said.

“We want a safer environment for 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,” Sotto said.

The law also states that those who refuse to undergo tests would be charged and fined accordingly. Tasked to implement RA 10856 include the Philippine National Police and those deputized by the LTO.

Penalties for DUI range from three 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.