Drivers beware as ‘Anti-Distracted Driving’ bill has passed final reading

Besides calling and texting, people can now do more with their mobile phones such as navigate, surf the net, take photos, play games, and use social media. Unfortunately, some even use their phones while driving which has resulted into road accidents. With this, the government has come up with a bill that bans phone usage while driving.

According to house bill 3190 also known as the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, driving while using a mobile communication or entertainment device or watching a video will be considered illegal. This means the driver can no longer use any gadget that would distract or impair their ability to drive WHILE driving.

There are few exemptions for the upcoming law such as when the driver has reason to fear for their own safety and loved ones, or when reporting a criminal act. A mobile phone/device can also be used when reporting incidents such as fire, traffic accidents, serious road hazards, reckless drivers, or medical emergencies. The use of one hand to accept or reject calls, initiate hands-free, or the usage of navigational apps will also be allowed.

If drivers really have to use their phones or devices, stopping or pulling over will exempt them from being penalized.

People who would violate this bill will be given hefty fines. The 1st and 2nd offense will set drivers back P3,000 and P6,000, respectively while the 3rd offense will warrant a P12,000 fine plus a 3 month suspension of their driver’s license. A P20,000 fine and revocation of their license will be penalized for the 4th and succeeding violations.

School bus drivers and those classified as ‘distracted driving’ near schools will be subject to a minimum penalty of P20,000 and a 3 month suspension of their driver’s license.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other concerned government agencies are given the power to implement this bill if it’s passed into law.

This is a step in the right direction by our government and something that we should strongly support as it could instil much needed safety on the road. Let’s just hope that those who have been given the task to enforce this won’t abuse it.

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