This coming October, the Land Transportation Office hopes to finally roll out driver’s licenses (DL) with 10-year validity. Take note, however, that this is NOT automatic for every driver renewing their license, as there must be ZERO traffic violations on your record to qualify.

Like what was said in our recent story, the impending rollout of the 10-year valid driver’s license is not without its caveats. Doctors present during yesterday’s consultation recommended a physical and mental re-evaluation of the driver done every 2 years to make sure they are still fit to ride or ride, considering that a lot can happen in 10 years.

It seems that it’s not only the doctors who have reservations about the upcoming 10-year DL. The Driver’s License Renewal Offices Association (DLROA) are also requesting the LTO to defer and suspend its implementation, “until such time that the creases and parameters are embedded thereto.”

“WE, the members of the Driver’s License Renewal Offices Association hereby respectfully request your good office to defer and suspend the impending implementation of the rules and regulations pertaining to the issuance of a ten (10) year driver’s license pursuant to RA No. 10930,” said the group on their official position letter. A copy was sent to MotoPinas.com.

A Driver's License Renewal Office (DLROs) is basically an LTO-accredited facility solely for renewal of driver's licenses and conductor's permits. These facilities were deputized to make renewal more convenient to the public by establishing their operations inside commercial centers like malls, MRT stations and the like.

The establishment of DLROs is in accordance with DOTC's (now Department of Transportation) Department Order 2015-014.

Like an aircraft pilot

According to the DLROA, drivers who possess a valid DL can be compared to an aircraft pilot in the sense that passenger’s lives depend on the driver.

Medical experts are in unison that medical examinations and psychological evaluations [are] a critical and material issue for such a long ten (10) year validity of a Philippine driver’s license. A regular driver is akin and similarly to that of an aircraft pilot. All drivers and pilots are primarily responsible to the riding public, their PASSENGERS. Even the Civil Code of the Philippines does not make any distinction as to the quantum or degree of responsibilities of both persons, that is, they are all required to observe EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE for the safety of their passengers as far as human care and foresight can provide using the utmost diligence of a very cautious person with due regard for all the circumstances.

The preceding mandate of the law will lose its spirit and rationale once the ten (10) year validity of driver’s license will be implemented. The safeguards are too loose and the appropriate parameters are not yet clearly embedded in the implementing rules and regulations. If a pilot license is being required to be renewed on a yearly basis by the Philippine authority, why land transportation drivers were being given too much latitude in securing a ten (10) year validity of driver’s license, sans any concrete parameters. As records would disclose, road accidents in the Philippines [are] relatively high and with the impending implementation thereof, the statistics of road accident is bound to increase;

'DL not like a passport'

The DLROA contends that the government cannot compare the DL to a passport. According to them, the passport can be obtained by almost everybody – even with impairments that won’t make for a driver or rider – but not the DL.

The ten (10) year period validity for a passport holder cannot be equated or compared symmetrically with that of the driver’s license. The Philippine passport was being issued on a personal basis and the passport holder alone is responsible thereto, contrary to the issuance of a ten (10) year validity of a driver’s license. That even People with Disability (PWD) are allowed to travel and secure Philippine passport, whereas the latter is imbued with public interest as the general welfare of the riding public is at stake. The life and limb of every riding passenger rest solely in the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry driver. The medical experts have reservation and even other key stakeholders proposed that a bi-annual driver’s evaluation (physical and psychological) should be included in the guidelines to ensure the safety and welfare of the riding public;

Senior moments

Additionally, the DLROA says persons in their elderly ages are prone to drastic physical and mental health changes and therefore may not be in the same capacity to drive safely as they were 5 or 8 years ago. That being said, DLROA wants the LTO to consider putting an age bracket among age groups.

In addition, a critical matter on the issuance of a ten (10) year validity of driver’s license to elderly drivers pose a health issue, as they are prone to experience drastic changes in their physical and mental health, such as deterioration of eyesight and hearing capabilities due to illness or because of age, thus a concern that needs to be addressed first by considering placing an age bracket as to the would-be applicant thereof, aside from imposing psychiatric evaluation guidelines;

The President's reservations

DLROA reiterates that even the President himself, Rodrigo Duterte, has expressed his reservations during his last State Of the Nation Address with regards to the 10-year driver’s license.

In fact, no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) raised his concern on how the government can ensure the driver’s given privilege are fit both physically and mentally for the next ten (10) years. As a lot of things can surely happen in ten (10) years both as to the physical and mental state of a driver.

How about you? Are you in favor or not of the 10-year valid driver’s license?