Lawmaker wants dashcams to be mandatory

With so many recent incidences of road rage, reckless driving, and irresponsible motorists being caught on camera, dashcams are becoming a necessity when driving in the Philippines. House bill no. 817, filed by Rep. Michael Romero aims to make the popular gadget mandatory.

Known as the Dashboard Camera Act of the Philippines, the bill will require drivers to install active dashcams in their vehicles. Drivers will also not be allowed to register their vehicle with the LTO if it does not include the in-car camera. It will also become illegal to drive around without one if the bill will pass. 

The bill will have the LTO and LTFRB implement the rules and regulations with consultation from the government. This law will also state that the recording can be requested from the owner by any of the law enforcement agencies as long as the footage is relevant to their investigation. 

For the penalties, any public officer or government employee who will allow the registration of motor vehicles without a dashcam will be punished with not less than 2 to a maximum of 3 years in prison or be fined 20,000 PHP. This shall be at the discretion of the courts. 

When it comes to the public, first-time violators on the other hand will be fined PHP 5,000 and will have their license suspended for 30 days. If the motorist commits a second violation, the fine will go up to PHP 10,000 and will also have a longer 6-month license suspension. For really hard-headed people who get caught a third time, the fine will go up to PHP 20,000 and license suspension will be for a whole year. 

This proposed bill highlights the usefulness of the dashcam in order to increase road awareness and safety. If the bill passes both Houses and gets the President's signature, we may see car makers have the device built-in or offer installation right at the dealership.

The newly filed Dashboard Camera Act is not a completely new idea, Rep. Ruffy Biazon filed a similar bill in 2017; it required all private and public transport vehicles to install one, it even went as far as requiring dashcams to be mandatory in brand new cars sold by manufacturers.