Press Release
June 23, 2013

AD & DDA revokes mandatory drug testing--Sotto

The new law criminalizing drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs revoked an inutile provision in the Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 which required mandatory drug testing for those applying of drivers' licenses.

In effect, the law, Republic Act No. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013, not only removed a useless requirement but also allowed motorists a respite from costly drug tests.

Senator Vicente C Sotto III, the principal author of RA 10586, stressed that there is no more mandatory drug testing when one applies or renews for a drivers' license. This is because the new law, Republic Act No. 10586, expressly revoked Sec. 36 (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which mandated the drug testing.

The senator, who has been one of the most ardent advocates against illegal drugs, pointed out that the mandatory drug test has become a waste of money for motorists as well as an ineffective requirement, citing data mined from the Department of Health and the Dangerous Drug Board.

Data showed that out of millions tested a mere 0.06% resulted to positive results in the drug tests conducted by the Land Transportation Office covering the period 2002 to 2010.

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 accidents and road mishaps involving drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs refute the low positive results, Sotto 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 in fact was an added burden to responsible motorists, as they shell out money for something that drug users could easily get away with.

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

The lawmaker issued the statement following announcement by an LTO official that driver's license applicants will still need to undergo drug testing.

But the main author of the law begs to disagree.

Sotto explained the Repealing Clause in RA 10586 specifically stated that the clause on mandatory drug testing was among those deemed inconsistent with the new law.

Signed into law last May 30 by President Aquino, RA 10586 states that drug testing will only be conducted for 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 accidents 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 to 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 National Police, and those deputized by the LTO.

Penalties for DUI range from 3 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.

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