Senate approves heavier penalties for drunk and drugged driving

The Senate has approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 3365, otherwise known as the “Anti-drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2012,” imposing heavier penalties on drivers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

SB 3365, sponsored by Senator Gregorio Honasan as chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, is a consolidated version of similar bills filed by 11 senators, including SB 2683 of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.

Under the approved measure, anyone caught driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs but have not cause any physical injury or death shall be fined from P20,000 to P80,000 and imprisoned for three months.

On the other hand, DUI resulting in physical injuries shall be fined from P100,000 to P200,000 and penalized with imprisonment ranging from three months to 12 years depending on the injury caused, while DUI leading to homicide shall be fined from P300,000 to P500,000 or imprisonment ranging from 12 years to 20 years.

In contrast, RA 4136 or the “Land Transportation Traffic Code of 1964,” penalizes drunk and drugged driving with a fine of ranging from P200 to P500 or imprisonment of not more than three months, or both.

The approved measure calls for the confiscation of the non-professional driver’s license of violators and its suspension for 12 months for the first conviction and perpetual revocation upon second conviction for the offense.

Professional drivers found guilty of DUI will suffer confiscation and perpetual revocation of their licenses on the first conviction. Any driver whose license is perpetually revoked is disqualified from being granted any driver’s license thereafter.

To determine if a driver is intoxicated with alcohol or drugs, enforcers are required to conduct field sobriety tests. Any driver failing these initial tests shall be subjected to further examination through a breath analyzer or drug screening.

In filing SB 2638, which sought heavier penalties for drunk driving, Marcos noted that “driving while either intoxicated or drunk is dangerous and drivers with high blood alcohol content or concentration are at greatly increased risks of car accidents, highway injuries and vehicular deaths.”

He stressed that mere driving of motor vehicle while intoxicated should be made a crime to make every driver “realize his inherent responsibility to ensure full advantage of his faculties while driving a motor vehicle.”

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