NEWS Accidents surge after festival drinking in Philippines

Spike in accidents after festive drinking in Philippines

Transport group calls for ‘sane’ driving to avoid road accidents by reducing alcohol intake at Christmas parties

Motorists speed past Christmas lanterns and lighted decorations at a roadside store in Quezon City, on the outskirts of Manila, on Dec. 12. (Photo: AFP)

Published: Dec 21, 2022 11:25 AM GMT

Updated: 21 December 2022 at 11:38 AM GMT

Authorities in the Philippines reported a sudden spike in road accidents caused by drunk drivers across the country in December.

The National Police Highway Patrol and the Land Transport Office (LTO) reported that 84 people have been killed and 1,732 injured since December 1 due to road accidents involving drunk drivers.

The LTO has responded to nearly 1,500 road crashes in which 1,356 drivers tested positive for alcohol poisoning. Police have likewise reported a 73% increase in road accidents compared to 2021.

“The rate is worrying because it’s the first Christmas since the government eased restrictions after the pandemic. Public gatherings have been banned for almost three years and people fear Covid-19. Now, things are starting to return to normal,” Manila Police Inspector Donald Conejo told UCA News.

However, Cornejo said motorists should not drink alcohol before driving despite reduced restrictions on public gatherings this year.

“There is no reason to disregard the DUI Law, which prohibits DUI. We have arrested hundreds of violators, some of whom have ended up in jail,” Cornejo added.

The Anti-Drink Driving Act requires drivers to have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test of no more than 0.05% alcohol in their system to avoid being charged with drink driving.

“Many of the drunk drivers we caught had 3.0 percent alcohol in their system. And they were from a Christmas-related party. Many of them were from a Christmas party or party,” Manila LTO officer Jojo Sales told UCA News.

A public school teacher died and her young son was injured when their car collided with a truck on a highway in Bataan province, north of Manila, on Dec. 12.

A report indicated that the fuel truck crashed into the silver Toyota sedan that was also carrying the teacher’s husband and then hit the bumper of a black sedan that Bataan Bishop Ruperto Santos was traveling in on his way to Manila.

Bishop Santos and his driver were not injured, and the bishop immediately contacted authorities for help.

The Piston Group, the largest transportation group in the Philippines, has called on public transport drivers to cut down on alcohol at Christmas parties to avoid accidents.

“I’m asking all of our members to refrain from alcohol during gatherings. As difficult as it is because alcohol has always been a part of our enjoyment, let’s think about the common good and our safety,” Pistons spokesman Lawrence Lima told UCA News .

Lima said the transport group had distributed its announcement to all 12,000 members across the country.

“We have received advice, but I don’t think the problem is with drivers of public transport such as buses or jeepneys. Private car drivers are more likely to be involved in road accidents than bus or jeepney drivers,” Manila jeepney driver Joseph Zulueta said. Tell UCA News.

Police authorities have deployed more than 3,000 officers to the streets in a boosted presence to arrest would-be violators.

“In addition to the 192,000 deployed during the holidays, nearly 30,000 police officers will join the organization to ensure a high police presence to catch lawbreakers,” police chief General Rodolfo Azurin told reporters on Dec. 20.

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