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In-depth: Anti-Distracted Driving Act revisions

In-depth: Anti-Distracted Driving Act revisions image

Anton Andres / | June 21, 2017 11:30

Clearer extent of coverage, more exemptions under revised IRR

UPDATE: The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has published the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act today. The publication of the IRR means that the ADDA will be reimplemented starting July 6, 2017.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) made several clarifications to the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, as well as the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the said Act. The revisions now include a clearer definition of Extent of Coverage.

RA10319 defines distracted driving using mobile communications devices to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls and other similar acts. It also includes the use of electronic or computing device to play games, read e-books, perform calculations, and other similar acts.

A closer look at the revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

Sec. 5 (a) of the Act covers the Extent of Coverage and sees several revisions. The law now clearly states that the operation of mobile communication devices is not considered to be distracted driving if done using the aid of hands-free functions or similar devices. Examples stated in the law include speaker phone, earphones and microphones. It also says that it is not considered distracted driving if the driver is not holding the mobile communications device. The DOTr is reminding the public to pull over to the side of the road when making calls, texts and other similar acts.

A closer look at the revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

Also added is the provision for placing mobile devices in vehicles. The law states that these devices should not interfere with the driver's line of sight. This was further explained by the DOTr with their 'four-inch rule'. Mounting of mobile devices must be within four inches from the highest point of the vehicle's dashboard.

A closer look at the revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

Additional exceptions were also made with the revised IRR. Like in the previous IRR, emergency calls are allowed to authorities, medical services and fire fighters. The new additions to the IRR is the inclusion of 'other analogous circumstances', as well as motorists operating either emergency or private vehicles responding to a emergency call.

A closer look at the revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

The IRR also mentions the public information campaign. The DOTr-LTO will be handling the information campaign, along with the Philippines Information Agency, Department of Education, Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine National Police. Private agencies and organizations will also be part of the campaign.

A closer look at the revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

As for the penalties, these were carried over from the previous IRR. The first offense has a fine of Php 5,000 while the second offense goes up to Php 10,000. For the third offense, it is a penalty of Php 15,000 along with the suspension of the driver’s license for three months and Php 20,000 for the fourth offense including revocation of the driver’s license. There are heavier penalties that will be imposed for Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers, drivers of school service vehicles or drivers of a common carrier of flammable or toxic materials. Violators within a 50-meter radius of a school zone will be fined Php 30,000 and driver’s license suspension for three months.

A closer look at the revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

Also carried over is the enforcement and assistance by other government agencies. The LTO has the authority to deputize officers of the PNP, MMDA and LGUs (Local Government Units) to enforce RA 10913. Enforcers on the road will be monitoring and looking out for violators at ground level. High-definition cameras will also be used to catch those that were missed by the traffic enforcers.

At the time of writing, the DOTr-LTO have yet to sign on the of the revised IRR. The agency will make a formal announcement and will take effect fifteen calendar days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in newspapers with general nationwide circulation and upon filing with the University of the Philippines Law Center of three certified copies.