Multitasking may be beneficial in so many ways but operating a motor vehicle and your mobile device is an extremely risky act that may soon become highly illegal if this recently passed bill becomes a Republic Act.
The Philippine Senate has just unanimously passed on its third and final reading Bill number 3211 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, which will penalize ‘distracted driving’ or the practice of using your mobile device – whether it is texting, surfing or calling – while driving a motor vehicle.
Getting a 12-0 vote in the senate, this bill will most certainly reduce the vehicular accidents caused by driver’s losing their focus on the road because their attention is divided between their mobile device and the road ahead.
“While the State recognizes the vital roles of information and communications technology in nation-building, the State also takes cognizance of the inimical consequences of the unrestrained use of electronic mobile devices on road safety as to cause its regulation,” said Senator Sergio Osmeña III, acting chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services.
If the bill is signed by the president into a law, drivers will be prohibited from operating their smartphones or mobile devices, that includes making calls, typing or sending SMS, playing games, going on social media or just the simple act of operating the device for whatever reason.
Aside from cars, trucks and SUVs, the bill will also cover ‘wheeled agricultural machineries’ such as tractors and other construction equipment. Bicycles, pedicabs, ‘habal-habal’, ‘kuligligs, and various other forms of transportation, whether animal or man-powered will also be prohibited by the bill.
Violation of the bill will result in a fine of Php 15,000 and the third violation will result in the suspension of one’s driver’s license.
The only exception to the use of mobile devices while driving is if it is done using a hands-free device or system. Drivers who are using their devices to address an emergency, call the police or any disaster-response team and ambulance and fire truck drivers are also exempted from any violation.