AAP welcomes passage of anti-drunk driving law
The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP)welcomed the passage of Republic Act 10586, otherwise known as the Act Penalizing Persons Driving under the Influence of Alcohol, Dangerous Drugs and other Similar Substances. Under RA 10586, people driving under the influence of alcohol and dangerous drugs that used to get away scot-free or are slapped with minor penalties will now face heftier sanctions.
AAP Vice President Johnny Angeles, who also chair the AAP Road Safety Committee, said that AAP has been lobbying for years now for the passage of a comprehensive and all-encompassing law that will cover and impose more appropriate penalties for drunk driving in the country.
“At last, this is a welcome change and has been a long time coming. We have been pushing for this [law] to be approved since the1980’s,” Angeles said.
According to the Global Status Report on Road Safety published by the World Health Organization (WHO), it is important for all countries to have an anti-drunk driving law which should be strictly enforced by the government. Sobriety checkpoints and random breath-testing are some of the very cost effective ways to combat drunk driving which can lead to a reduction in alcohol-related road accidents by as much as 20 percent.
AAP president Gus Lagman said that AAP is willing to help the government in crafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law. Under section 17 of RA 10586, a joint body composed of representatives from the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) will make up the committee who will promulgate the IRR to carry out the provisions of the law.
‘We’re happy that finally there is a DUI law enacted and we are hoping that AAP, being the national auto club which represent some 50,00 members, will be given the chance to help in crafting the implementing rules and regulations of this new law,’ Lagman said.
Lagman further stressed that with AAP’s years of experience in spearheading programs and information drives which promote road safety in the country, AAP can contribute significantly in government efforts in the formulation of an effective and efficient IRR.
AAP has donated digital breath alcohol detectors (at left) to local government units, cities and municipalities.At right, AAP Vice President Johnny Angeles (right) donating a digital breath analyzer to UP - Philippine General Hospital Department of Surgery Chairperson Dr. Serafin Helvano (second from the left) during the road safety conference in 2009.
Among other things, AAP also plans to submit a recommendation of the standard blood alcohol content (BAC) level for a driver to be considered in violation of the new law. The BAC is the most commonly used metric in determining alcohol intoxication of a driver.
In the US, the blood alcohol limit is currently set at .08 percent or 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is clamping down on drunken drivers by recommending that states shrink the standard from the current .08 to.05, citing the high amount of fatalities in the US every year which number in the thousands. The move is not met with zero opposition as some trade groups from the restaurant industry have protested that moving the BAC limit from .08 to .05 will ‘criminalize perfectly responsible behavior.’
The Philippines has lagged behind the US and other neighboring countries when it comes to legislative measures to curb drunk driving in that it still does not have a BAC limit. AAP has high hopes that the new law will help lessen deaths resulting from alcohol-related crashes and altercations on the roads.