Earlier this week, the DOTr said that the Anti-Distracted Driving Act will be implemented on public roads nationwide by May 18, 2017. Earlier today, the DOTr held a press conference to further clarify the implementation of RA 10913. From the discussion, here are key things you need to know about the new law.
RA 10913 prohibits the use of communication and entertainment devices, as well as computing gadgets when one is behind the wheel. Examples of these are mobile phones, two-way radios, or “similar devices capable of transmitting or receiving encypted data” through wireless electronic means.
Vehicles covered by the law include both public and private vehicles. Motorcycles are also covered under the Anti-Distracted Driving Law. Other vehicles, such as agricultural and construction equipment are also part of law once driven on public roads. Bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, 'habal-habal' 'kuliglig', human and animal powered vehicles are included as well.
Acts that are not allowed to do while driving include making or receiving phone calls through a mobile device, composing, sending or reading text messages, playing mobile games, watching movies, performing calculations, reading e-books, browsing the internet and other similar activities. Also not allowed is the use of earphones for entertainment purposes but it is allowed for accepting calls.
The DOTr also clarified their stand on mounting electronic devices on windshields. They recommend mounting it on the middle section of the dashboard or “In areas that will not obstruct the driver's view”. As for dashcams, the DOTr recommends mounting them from behind the rear-view mirror.
The law does allow the use of hands-free features and accessories such as Bluetooth and similar devices. Also allowed is the use of the vehicle's infotainment system (touchscreen, radio, etc.). For those who frequently rely on traffic and navigation applications (Waze, Google Maps), they can still use as long as that they do not use the phone once on the move. It has been advised to set the destination before setting off to avoid the use of a mobile device. If a route has to be changed during the drive, the DOTr says the driver must pull over to make the change in route.
Motorists can only use mobile and communication devices when they are stopped at the side of the road. This is allowed as long as the person operating the vehicle is not causing an obstruction to traffic. The use of mobile and communication devices is also permitted in case of emergencies, especially calls to authorities (Police, Fire) or medical services.
Enforcers on the road will be monitoring and looking out for violators at ground level. High-definition cameras will also be used to catch those that were missed by the traffic enforcers. Once the law is fully implemented by tomorrow, the LTO has the authority to deputize officers of the PNP, MMDA and LGUs to enforce RA 10913.
Violations will be imposed to those using mobile electronic devices in traffic and at stop lights and, of course, to those using them on the move. The first offense is Php 5,000 and the second offense is Php 10,000. The third offense sees a Php 15,000 fine along with a three-month suspension of their license. For the fourth violation, the driver's license will be revoked plus a Php 20,000 fine. Operators and owners of PUVs (public utility vehicles) will be held liable for the violations made by their drivers.