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LTO to Introduce Demerit Point System, 10-Year License Validity

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has released the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 10930 which amends the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, specifically regarding the driver’s license by extending its validity and penalizing acts in violation of its issuance and application.

Driver’s license validity to be increased

First, except for the student-driver’s permit, all drivers’ licenses will now be valid for five years from the birthdate of the license holder, “unless…revoked or suspended” by the agency. As a bonus for good behavior, any holder of a professional or nonprofessional driver’s license who has not committed any violation of traffic laws, rules, and regulations “shall be entitled to a renewal of such license for 10 years.”

Exams to be based on license being applied for

Second, the LTO will establish “stricter rules” before issuing a driver’s license by conducting the theoretical and practical examinations that will “sufficiently measure the competency of drivers…in accordance to the type of license applied for and its corresponding restrictions.” Ideally, that should mean those applying for restriction code 2 (vehicles up to 4,500 kgs gross vehicle weight) will take a different set of exams from those applying for restriction code 8 (articulated vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 4,501 kgs and above). More importantly, for those applying for a professional license, the tests “must be appropriate to the vehicle and type of service (the) applicant intends to operate.”

‘Point’ system to be used, double demerit for PUV drivers

Third, the LTO will utilize a ‘point’ system “to assess the fitness and eligibility of driver applicants for their desired license transactions,” and perhaps most important of all, the same system will be used “as a primary tool to identify, deter, and penalize repeat offenders of traffic laws and ordinances.”

As such, the LTO shall record against the apprehended driver the number of demerit points corresponding to the violation/s committed, if: the person admits the apprehension, or the person has not filed an apprehension contest and the prescribed contest period has lapsed; or the person contests the apprehension but obtains an unfavorable resolution after adjudication.

Once the system is in place, every violation of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code “and other traffic laws, rules and regulations including local ordinances” will be assigned a corresponding demerit point depending on the gravity of the violation “and habituality of its commission” as follows:

  • Grave violations5 demerit points
  • Less grave violations3 demerit points
  • Light violations (or “all other violations not enumerated as grave or less grave”)–1 demerit point

And here’s the kicker which will be to the chagrin of most–if not all–public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers: they will be meted double the number of demerit points for every traffic violation committed while operating a ‘For Hire’ motor vehicle.

The same provision will also be applied to a driver of a private motor vehicle operating as a PUV but without proper authority from the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The total number of demerit points accumulated by the driver shall be counted from the date of the initial issuance or last renewal of the license “to the day immediately preceding the date of..subsequent renewal.”

A driver who has accrued at least five demerit points prior to the renewal of the license–or has committed the same violation at least three times during the validity of the driver’s license–will be required to complete a driver’s reorientation course “to be conducted by an accredited service provider.”

Furthermore, a driver who has accumulated 10 or more demerit points shall, in addition to completing the driver’s reorientation course, “be required to pass the theoretical examination before he/she may be allowed to renew his/her driver’s license.”

For PUV drivers, in addition to attending the reorientation course, any franchise-related violation will require the attendance at a training seminar to be conducted by the PUV Drivers’ Academy.

If the driver fails to complete the intervention program within 30 days from the date of the last apprehension, the LTO will suspend the driver’s license “upon prior notice until the required attendance to the course is complied with.”

If a driver has accumulated at least 40 demerit points, the LTO shall revoke his/her immediately “without need for any proceeding for a period of two years reckoned from the date of settlement of fines and penalties.”

The demerit points will revert back to zero upon the renewal of the license–provided the driver has attended the reorientation course, and passed the theoretical examination if required. However, the history of violations from which the demerit points were incurred will be archived and form part of the driver’s permanent record “with the end view of preserving and disclosing such records to public officers and private persons for a legitimate purpose.”

If you want to read the complete document will its entire legalese, or if you simply want to know the difference between the grave (driving while under the influence, third offense for distracted driving, etc.), less grave (second offense for distracted driving, etc.), and light violations (first offense for distracted driving, etc.) , you can check it out via this link.

 

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