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The dangers of driving while drunk

The dangers of driving while drunk

By Melvin Magadia, for Automart.PH

METRO MANILA, July 25, 2022 – You just came from a company event where you drank two bottles of beer and decided to call it a night.

However, you still need to drive home. But is it okay to drive after consuming an alcoholic drink?

Driving while intoxicated or drunk driving is one of the major culprits in road-related accidents. According to figures from the Power of No campaign, an estimated 12,000 people die every year in the Philippines because of road crashes, 25 percent of which is associated with drunk driving.

How does alcohol affect your driving?

Alcohol is a depressant drug that can slow down the functions of the central nervous system.

Its long-term effect on health is well-documented. However, its immediate effects makes it dangerous to engage in any activity that demands skill, attention and coordinated movement.

In addition, alcohol can also reduce sensory perception, along with impeding nerve-to-muscle transmission, decision-making and higher brain functions. Alcohol can lead to effects such as:

Altered judgment

Alcohol can affect clear thinking, good decision-making and advanced planning, which are all crucial skills for driving a vehicle. It can also increase risk-taking behavior.

Reduced concentration skills

Driving a car requires great concentration.

But when your ability to focus on tasks like steering, maintaining a safe speed, staying in your lane and avoiding other cars is greatly impaired, the risk of a crash also increases.

Loss of coordination

Alcohol alters the parts of the brain that controls motor skills. This will cause the reflexes to slow down and reduce the ability to safely steer or use the gas and brake pedals appropriately.

Impaired vision

Alcohol causes the eye muscles to relax, resulting in blurred vision and slower visual reaction time.

In addition, it decreases peripheral vision, making it difficult for the drunk driver to see anything that is not directly in front of them, such as other cars, pedestrians and obstacles on the road.

What is Republic Act 10586?

Signed into law by the late President Benigno Aquino III on May 27, 2013, R.A. 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 prohibits drunk driving and provides sanctions, such as a fine and imprisonment to violators.

The law punishes the driver, along with the owner of the vehicle if it is used for public or commercial transport.

The law also authorizes law enforcers to conduct a breathalyzer test on drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. In addition, they are also authorized to stop the suspected driver and administer a series of sobriety checks.

Failure in the field sobriety exam subjects the drunk driver to a breathalyzer test. Should the driver refuse to take the two examinations, they will face:

  • If the crash results in physical injuries or homicide, three months imprisonment and a fine ranging from P20,000 to P80,000.
  • If the crash results in bodily harm, the penalty indicated in Article 263 of Revised Penal Code or the penalty provided in the previous subparagraph, whichever is higher, and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P200,000.
  • If the crash results in homicide, Article 249 of the Revised Criminal Code imposes a levy and a fine ranging from P300,000 to P500,000.
  • For non-professional drivers, license shall be suspended and confiscated for 12 months for first offense and revoked for the second offense.
  • For professional drivers, license will be confiscated and disqualified indefinitely. Once permanently revoked, the driver will no longer be eligible to receive any driver’s license in the future.

As a responsible driver, always keep in mind that alcohol and driving do not mix. If you cannot avoid driving after consuming alcohol, wait until the effect subsides or follow the tips mentioned above.

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