Yes you read that title correctly: your smartphone -in navigation mode- may be permitted to be mounted securely above the dashboard.
The news comes from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting that happened earlier today at the DOTr main office in Mandaluyong City. Moderated by DOTr Assistant Secretary Leah Quiambao, the TWG worked to resolve and revise the major (and minor) issues regarding the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA).
Given that the law was crafted at a time when smartphone applications such as Waze and Google Maps were not in widespread use, the DOTr's TWG recognized that it had to make revisions to account for the safe use of such applications.
After a long deliberation period, the TWG agreed and proposed that smartphones in navigation mode can be placed on top of the center of the dashboard. The proposal also says that the phone in navigation mode cannot protrude more than three (3.0”) inches in height from the highest point of the center of the dashboard so as to not obstruct (or minimize the obstruction of) the driver's field of view through the windshield.
This means that phones will have to be securely mounted in a landscape (horizontally-oriented) manner (i.e. an iPhone 7 is 2.5 inches wide). It was also proposed to permit windshield suction mounts so long as they are mounted low on the windshield.
The DOTr TWG reiterated that RA 10913 made it clear that it essentially prohibits holding and/or using a mobile phone in your hand while you are driving a motor vehicle unless you are parked in a properly designated spot (i.e. emergency bay), meaning changes made to apps like Waze/Google Maps will have to be done in the same manner.
The TWG was comprised of the different departments under the DOTr, and was attended by ASEC Edgar Galvante of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and ASEC Leah Quiambao of Legal Affairs and the MMDA. Former LTO and LTFRB chief Bert Suansing also attended the meeting, along with representatives from World Health Organization, the AAP, Grab, Uber, James Deakin of CNN and Vince Pornelos of AutoIndustriya.com
This is not yet final as Department of Transportation is including the many revisions discussed in the meeting. The agency will publish the new IRR for RA 10913 as soon as it is completed.