Sometimes, you get the sense that drivers in the Philippines simply don’t care. Simple-to-follow rules and regulations are broken or ignored far too often, and when motorists are caught, they simply pay the fine and go back to, well, sucking behind the wheel.
This might be about to change.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has published the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10930, which basically tackles the extension of driver’s licenses as well as the amendments to the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
Within this document is the creation of an LTO ‘point system,’ “which shall be used to assess the fitness and eligibility of driver applicants for their desired license transactions,” and will “be utilized as a primary tool to identify, deter, and penalize repeat offenders of traffic laws and ordinances.”
Translation? If you don’t take traffic rules and regulations seriously, now might be the time to do so because the LTO will be keeping tabs on every violation. A bad overall score can lead to the following:
- One or more demerit points – Being prohibited from changing your driver’s license’s classification (professional, non-professional) for a certain period of time (a maximum of one year).
- At least 5 demerit points – Being required to complete a driver’s reorientation course to be conducted by the LTO or an accredited provider.
- More than 10 demerit points – Being required to pass a theoretical examination before being allowed to renew your driver’s license.
- Every 10 accumulated demerit points (or if the same violation is committed three times over a license’s validity) – Being required to undergo a reorientation course, or a training seminar for PUVs.
- At least 40 demerit points – Outright revocation of driver’s license for two years.
Those are some pretty steep penalties if you ask us, and you can read more about them in the LTO’s published IRR here.
So, how does this point system work? It’s relatively simple: Being apprehended for a ‘grave violation’ constitutes five demerit points, while ‘less grave’ and ‘light’ violations amount to three and one demerit point, respectively. Here are examples for each under the IRR:
Grave violation (5 demerit points)
- Colorum violations
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving a motor vehicle used in the commission of a crime
- Third succeeding violations of the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act
- Third and succeeding offenses of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act
- Failure for driver or passengers to wear a seatbelt
- Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet
- Smoke belching
- Third and succeeding apprehension for reckless driving
- Disregarding traffic signs
- Overtaking when left side is not visible to oncoming traffic
- Overtaking on a curve
Less grave violation (3 demerit points)
- Second offense of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act
- Second offense of the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act
- Failure to wear seatbelt (second offense)
- Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet (second offense)
- Smoke belching (second offense)
- Reckless driving (second offense)
- Parking at an intersection, within four meters of a fire hydrant, in front of a private driveway, or any place where signs of prohibition are installed
- Allowing passengers on top of motor vehicle
- Failure to dim headlights when approaching another vehicle
- Illegal turns
Light violation (1 demerit point)
- First offense of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act
- First offense of the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act
- Failure to wear seatbelt (first offense)
- Failure to wear a motorcycle helmet (first offense)
- Smoke belching (first offense)
- Reckless driving (first offense)
- Failure to carry driver’s license while operating a motor vehicle
- Failure to give proper signs
- Unsafe towing
- Overcharging/undercharging of fare
- Tampered or defective taxi meters
- Failure to provide fare discount
- Picking up and dropping off passenger outside terminals
These are just some of the violations that’ll earn you demerit points. You can refer to the LTO’s IRR as the entire list is simply too long to enumerate here.
If you operate a public utility vehicle (PUV), you’ll want to be extra careful as drivers of PUVs shall be handed double the number of demerit points for violations. Also, the accumulation of demerit points is from the date of the initial issuance of a driver’s license up until renewal, though the LTO will archive all previous violations.
According to a source within the LTO, there is no set date of implementation for any of this yet. Still, this is definitely an issue worth monitoring.