MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The new implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act have been released, with revisions to take into account concerns raised by motorists and various stakeholders.
Republic Act No 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act initially took effect Thursday, May 18 – 10 months after it lapsed into law in July 2016. But the implementation of the law was suspended on May 23 after motorists complained about the vague provisions in the IRR.
After a review of the IRR, the Department of Transportation released the revised guidelines on Wednesday, June 14.
The law defines “distracted driving” as using telecommunications or entertainment devices while in motion or temporarily stopped at a red traffic light.
A 2015 National Statistics Office report cites using cellular phones while driving as one of the top causes of road crash incidents, with a total of 1,290 reported incidents from 2012 to 2014. (READ: IN NUMBERS: Road crash incidents in the Philippines)
Under the new law, drivers of both public and private vehicles are not allowed to use phones to call, text, play games, or surf the internet while in motion or temporarily stopped at a red traffic light or at an intersection.
Watching movies, reading e-books, or performing calculations are also prohibited, along with other activities that will distract the driver while driving.
The law also covers a wide range of other vehicles – wheeled agricultural machinery, construction equipment, bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys,wagons, carriages, carts, the habal-habal or modified motorcycle that seats more than two people, and the kuliglig, a two-wheeled trailer hitched to a hand tractor.
What if I need to call during an emergency?
In case of emergency, motorists are allowed to use their devices to make or take calls to authorities in cases of crime, bomb or terrorist threat, fire or explosions, or when personal safety and security is compromised.
Those in need of immediate medical attention are also exempted.
Can I use hands-free devices like earphones?
According to RA 10913, drivers are only allowed to wear earphones when they are making or receiving calls. Using earpones to listen to music is not allowed.
Can I still use navigation apps like Waze or Google Maps?
Motorists are allowed to use navigation apps like Waze or Google maps as long as the devices are installed within the so-called safe zone, and won’t block the driver’s view.
If drivers need to check navigation apps for alternate routes, they should pull over first.
Where is the ‘safe zone’?
GPS units and navigation devices may be placed below, at the same level, or on top of the dashboard, and even on the windshield, as long as the highest point of the device is not higher than 4 inches from the dashboard.
Can I mount phones on my motorcycle?
Yes, phones can be mounted on handle bars or other parts of the motorcycle that won’t interfere with the driver’s line of sight.
Can I use dashcams?
Yes, the use of dash cams is not covered under the law, but drivers are encouraged to mount their dashcams at the back of the rearview mirror.
Does the law cover the mounting of accessories on the dashboard, or engaging in other activities while driving?
No, the law does not cover accessories on your dashboard such as rosaries, figurines, or toys, among others. It also doesn’t cover activities like putting on makeup and drinking coffee, among others.
What will happen if I get apprehended?
Violators will be penalized with a fine of P5,000 for the first offense and P10,000 for the second offense. Those who incur violations for the third time will be fined P15,000 and his driver’s license will suspended for 3 months.
Those who violate beyond the 3rd offense will be fined P20,000 and his driver’s license will be revoked.
For drivers of public utility jeeps, school buses, or drivers who violate the law while within a 50-meter radius from school premises, they face a penalty of P30,000 and suspension of license for 3 months.
Owners and operators of public utility vehicles or delivery vehicles will also be held liable for the fine, together with the violator.
If the violator is riding a bicycle, or operating machinery or vehicles that do not require a driver’s license, the penalty is impoundment of the said vehicle or machinery. – Rappler.com
Learn more about Filipinos’ safety on the road by visiting the Road Safety Awareness microsite.