Earlier today, the Department of Transport (DOTr) held a press conference announcing the revisions they made to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10913, better known as the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. During the discussion DOTr along with the PNP-HPG, LTO, LTFRB, DILG and MMDA clarified the implementation of the Act with more comprehensive details.
As previously reported, the DOTr will be sticking to their definition of their 'safe zones'. This means mounting of mobile electronic devices on the dashboard is permitted for as long as it does not go beyond four inches from the highest point of the dashboard. The DOTr has made it clear that holding of these said devices will be in violation of the law. Like in the previous IRR, motorists are recommended to pull over when making calls or texts and adjusting a navigation app or device. The use of hands-free devices are allowed.
For the enforcement of the 'four-inch rule', the DOTr says that as long as it is not an obvious obstruction to the driver's line of sight. The proper mounting of phones and small tablets is legal as it still follows the 'spirit of the act'. The agency adds that they will not be 'splitting hairs' if the mounting is millimeters or centimeters past the four-inch mark. The MMDA will also be catching out violators with the use of CCTV.
In addition, the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) supports revised IRR. They said that they are in agreement with the new recommendations, adding that navigation devices should be as close as possible to the driver's line of sight. According to the AAP, this allows the person behind the wheel less eye movement and still keep an eye on the road.
The DOTr also made it clear that mounting of other accessories on the dashboard is not covered by the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. Examples stated by the DOTr include tachometers, figurines, rosaries, signages, and the like. The Act does not cover other 'potentially distracting' activities and strictly covers mobile electronic devices. As for dash cams, the government agency reiterated that the use of these is allowed for as long as it it mounted either behind the rear-view mirror or within the safe zone.
Another clarification made by the DOTr is the vehicle's infotainment system. For as long as it is an integral part of the car, it is not covered by the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. This means that the use of on-board touchscreens is allowed. Aside from these revisions, the rest of the IRR is unchanged with the same scope of coverage, enforcing bodies and penalties.
The DOTr plans to publish the revised IRR by tomorrow, June 15, 2017. The IRR will take effect fifteen calendar days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in newspapers of general nationwide publication and upon filing with the University of the Philippines Law Center of three certified copies.