The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has issued guidelines with regards to the placement of gadgets or navigational devices that will be allowed under the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) or RA 10913.
At a press conference at the LTO Central Office today, officials of the LTO demonstrated the proper way to mount a navigational device and dash cam so as not to be considered a distraction or infraction of the line of sight rule.
According to the agency, navigational devices can be used while driving, so long as they are in navigation mode or operating the apps that help a driver navigate, such as Google Maps or Waze. Any manipulation of the device while driving, whether it is to input a destination or input text will be found in violation of the ADDA. Drivers are recommended to pull over to a safe place and do so when the vehicle is stationary.
Cellphones or other similar devices, when mounted, must not exceed four (4) inches, measured from the top of the dashboard to the upper edge of the device. The four inches will be measured from the part of the dashboard it touches, forming a vertical line to its upper edge. The said devices may be mounted in portrait or landscape mode. They may also be attached to the windshield, so long as they do not exceed the 4 inch height limit. The 4 inch rule also applies for areas directly above the hood of the instrument cluster, whether the said cluster is mounted in the center of the dashboard or on the driver's side.
Dashcams are still allowed so long as they are mounted behind the rearview mirror. The department did not specify any height limitation for its placement.
Finally, vehicles with built-in (original equipment manufacturer, OEM) navigational systems and LCD screens, such as those found in Mazdas, Mercedes-Benzes, and other vehicles, will not be found in violation of the ADDA, even if they exceed the 4 inch limit. The agency said that they were in talks with vehicle manufacturers and the placement of these OEM screens and navigational systems have already been studied with regards to their safest positioning in the vehicle.
To avoid any confusion, the diagrams here illustrate the areas where it is safe to mount a gadget or navigational device. The safe areas are highlighted in blue. Anywhere else will be considered a distraction and therefore, the driver will be found in violation of the said law. Areas in red are where mounted devices will be found in violation.
Finally, the agency said drivers with non-navigational equipment mounted on the dashboard, such as rosaries, bobble-heads, air fresheners and the like, will not be apprehended for the mean time while it focuses on cellphone use.
Apprehension of violators will be done through MMDA officers, the HPG and other deputized officers. It will also be done through the contactless method, via the MMDA's network of CCTV cameras.
The DOTr plan to publish the clarifications and Implementing Rules and Regulations in a newspaper of wide circulation on June 13, 2017. The agency did not state when the ADDA will be put in effect once again, though said it plans to follow the same 15-day schedule as before, making June 28 its possible re-implementation date.
Just last May 23, the ADDA was suspended after one week in effect upon the request of Congress in order to clarify the many grey areas, particularly with regards to "line of sight" and where gadgets and navigational devices may be mounted, as well as whether OEM screens and navigational systems will be found in violation of the law.
Under RA 10913, drivers are not allowed to use mobile communication devices when behind the wheel. The of act of writing, reading, sending a text-based message, making phone calls, or watching movies, surfing the internet, reading an e-book or performing any sort of computation on a mobile device by a motorist is banned, even when stationary during traffic or on stop lights.
The DOTr did clarify that making a call may be permitted while the mobile phone is on handsfree mode.
As before, the same fines still apply with the first offense having a fine of Php 5,000 while the second offense goes up to Php 10,000. And then, it is Php 15,000 for the third offense including 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. Those caught in violation of the bill within a 50-meter radius of a school will be fined Php 30,000 and driver’s license suspension for three months.