Starting May 18, 2017, Republic Act No. 10913 or the ‘Anti-Distracted Driving Act’ will take full effect nationwide. This law prohibits motorists to use mobile phones even if they are temporarily stopped at a red light.
Drivers are not allowed to use mobile communications devices
RA 10913 prohibits drivers to use a communications device such as mobile phones when behind the wheel. This covers writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication, as well as making or receiving calls. The act goes on by banning the use of “electronic entertainment” or “computing device” to play games, watch movies, surf the internet, read e-books, and perform calculations.
Mobile communications devices are not limited to mobile phones as the act stated that 2-way radio transceivers and other “similar devices capable of transmitting, receiving, or both, of encrypted data” are not allowed to be used by the driver.
The Anti-Distracted Driving Act doesn’t allow drivers to do the mentioned points even if they are stuck in traffic or temporarily stopped at a red light.
Motor vehicles covered by the Anti-Distracted Driving Act
The law covers all private cars, public utility vehicles, as well as government and diplomatic vehicles. Agricultural machineries such as “graders, rollers, payloaders” and the like are also covered by RA 10913. The act also includes bicycles, pedicabs, “habal-habal,” trolleys, and “kuligligs.”
However, the Anti-Distracted Driving Act also stated a number of exemptions. Drivers can use their mobile phones for emergency purposes such as contacting law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, among others. Motorists who are providing emergency assistance such as drivers of an ambulance, a fire truck, and the likes are also allowed to use communications devices such as mobile phones.
The law also stated that the “operation of a mobile communications device is not considered to be distracted driving if done using the aid of hands-free function” such as speaker-phone or a Bluetooth earpiece provided that it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s line-of-sight. Same thing applies when using navigational apps but motorists are advised to set their destination before driving.
Are dashcams not allowed?
According to the Department of Transportation, dashcams may be placed above the dashboard or behind the rear view mirror as long as it’s not in the driver’s line-of-sight.
Motorists who will be caught violating the Anti-Distracted Driving Act shall be fined P5,000 for the 1st offense; P10,000 for the 2nd offense; P15,000 as well as suspension of driver’s license for 3 months for the 3rd offense; and P20,000 and revocation of driver’s license for the 4th offense.
Meanwhile, a driver of a public utility vehicle, school bus, vehicles hauling flammable/toxic material within a 50-meter radius from school premises classified as distracted driving will receive a P30,000 fine and 3 months suspension of driver’s license.
Operators and owners of public utility vehicles will also be held liable when their drivers are caught violating RA 10913.
The Anti-Distracted Driving Act will be enforced by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other concerned agencies.