Use of mobile phones, gadgets while driving now prohibited

Use of mobile phones, gadgets while driving now prohibited

- in News

MANILA, May 17, 2017 — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will start implementing today a law that prohibits drivers of both public and private vehicles from using their mobile devices and other electronic gadgets that might interfere with their driving.

Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act prohibits motorists from the following while vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped on a traffic light or intersection:

  • making or receiving calls
  • writing, sending or reading text-based communications
  • playing online games
  • watching movies
  • surfing or browsing the Internet

Drivers are allowed, however, to apply hands-free function or applications in using such devices or gadgets as long as they do not obstruct with their line of sight.

They may use their devices to make or take emergency calls to authorities in cases of a crime, accidents, bomb or terrorist threat, fire or explosion, instances needing immediate medical attention, or when personal and safety is compromised.

“This law aims to prevent road accidents while promoting road safety and responsible driving among our motorists. Our primordial concern is the safety of the riding public,” Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante said in a press conference Wednesday.

The press conference was also attended by officials of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG).

Aside from public and private vehicles, the law also covers wheeled agricultural machineries, construction, equipment, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, “habal-habal,” “kuligligs,” wagons, carriages, and carts that are either human-powered or pulled by an animal as long as these are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways, or streets.

When asked on its impact to drivers of ridesharing services such as Uber and Grab that use navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps, Galvante stated: “The law is not singling out Uber and Grab drivers. They are advised to pull aside their vehicles in a way that does not obstruct traffic to refer to their gadgets when checking their routes.”

Furthermore, dashboard cameras that are installed behind the rearview mirror of vehicles do not distract motorists as these do not hinder their view of the roads.

Violators will be penalized with a fine of PHP 5,000 for the first offense, PHP10,000 for the second offense, and PHP15,000 for the third offense with a three-month suspension of driver’s license.

Violations incurred beyond the third offense shall be penalized with the revocation of driver’s license and a fine of PHP20,000.

Owners and operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) and commercial vehicles found in violation of the said Act shall both be held liable.

The LTO is the lead implementing agency in the implementation of the act. It also has the authority to deputize members of the PNP, MMDA, and local government units (LGUs) to carry out enforcement functions and duties. (Aerol B. Patena and Jazzelle Cayaban-OJT/PNA)

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