I was driving along SLEX yesterday when I noticed a car suspiciously swaying left to right, hitting his breaks when there was no need to and no cars in front of him. When I maneuvered to his left I found out he was on the phone! So, how hard is it to pull over if you need to answer a call or text someone? And how much would it cost you to get a Bluetooth speaker? Certainly not as expensive as these offenses once the Anti-Distracted Driving law takes effect on May 18.
Anti-Distracted Driving Law
Curious to know more about the law, I emailed MMDA and asked to expound it further. (Thank you very much, friends from MMDA for your prompt response!)
According to MMDA, Section 4 of Republic Act 10913 describes that distracted driving is when a motorist is using his/her mobile phone or gadgets while moving or temporarily stopped at a red light. Furthermore, the law covers both:
- private and public vehicles
- diplomatic motor vehicle – any motor vehicle leased or owned by a foreign mission and its staff for official use.
- Government motor vehicle – ANY motor vehicle owned by the national government or any of its agencies.
As per Section 5 for the Republic Act 10913 which is also known as the Anti-Distracted Driving Law states that:
- a speaker phone
- earphones or other similar devices which allow a person to make and receive calls without having to hold the mobile communications devices. PROVIDED that the placement of the mobile communications does NOT interfere with the line of sight of the driver.
The new law exempted the following scenarios:
- Motorists calling a law enforcement agency (How would you know it?)
- Health care provider (Again, how would you know if the motorist is calling such?)
- Fire department (If the car is on fire, perhaps?)
- Or other emergency services, agencies, or entities
- Motorists operating and/or driving an Ambulance, a fire truck, and other vehicles providing emergency assistance.
As seen on the site:
Sec. 6: Exemptions – The provision of this act shall NOT apply to the following:(a) A motorist using a mobile phone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department; or other emergency services, agency or entity; and(b) A motorist using a mobile phone while operating an emergency vehicles such as an ambulance, a fire truck, and other vehicles providing emergency assistance, in the course and scope of his/her duties;
What are the devices prohibited to use under the law?
The law says you can still use your phone PROVIDED it’s hands-free. However, these are the devices prohibited to use, according to law:
- any handheld device capable of digital information processing
- recording (We have asked MMDA again to explain this section further. We are still waiting for their response).
- capturing or displaying and computing operations such as, but not limited to, laptops, computer tablets, video game consoles, and calculators.
- mobile communication devices such as, but not limited to, cellular phones, wireless telephones, two-way radio transceivers, pagers, and other similar devices capable of transmitting, receiving, both of encrypted data and/or signals through wireless electronic or any other similar means.
However, my question is: “What if the car is tinted?” Now, the violations, which I think should be enforced accordingly.
As stated in the law, the violators shall be fined:
- P5,000 for the first offense
- P10,000 for the second offense
- P15,000 and suspension of driver’s license for three (3) months for the third offense.
- P20,000 fine and revocation of driver’s license for the fourth offense.
The Anti-Distracted Driving Act was passed into law last July 21, 2016.
The agencies, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other agencies will mandate to enforce the law. The Land Transportation Office (LTO), meanwhile, will also help accordingly.
While I commend the government for this initiative, I sincerely hope this will be enforced courageously and effectively as possible. Furthermore, it is hard to implement this if most of the cars are tinted in the Philippines.
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What do you think of this law? Tell your thoughts in the comments.