Although the Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs and Similar Substances Act of 2011 in the House of Representative is already on its third and final reading, Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st District, Marikina City) apparently thinks its stipulated penalties are not enough. Teodoro has filed House Bill 5708 that seeks to "address the increasing incidence of road mishaps in the country caused by drivers while under the influence of liquor or narcotic drug."
Under the bill, an individual with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent or more shall be presumed under the influence of alcohol. Likewise, an individual shall be presumed under the influence of prohibited drugs if the quantity of the drug in the system is be sufficient to impair the perception, mental processes or motor function of an average individual.
"Statistics have shown that driving under the influence of intoxicating drinks and illegal drugs impairs a person's driving skills," Teodoro said.
Under the Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs and Similar Substances Act of 2011, violators may be penalized with a fine of not more than P20,000 and have their driver's license suspended for up to one month. Under Teodoro's bill, however, a person who is caught operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or prohibited drugs may be imprisoned for no more than 15 years or pay a fine of "not less than P20,000 but not more than P200,000 or both."
According to Teodoro, in the Transportation and Traffic Code, driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or a narcotic drug, "is penalized with a fine of not less than P200 nor more than P500 pesos, or imprisonment of not more than three months, or both, at the discretion of the Court."
"It is very evident that the penalties as provided in the law is inadequate and inconsequential compared to the higher risk posed by someone driving or operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol or prohibited drugs," Teodoro added. "Road safety is everyone's concern. With the people's growing dependence on automotive technologies to cope with the demands of modern living, coupled with the growingly complex systems of roads and highways in the country, both the government and citizens should work in unison to ensure traffic regulations, both vehicular and pedestrian, are strictly implemented and observed."