LTO to motorcycle drivers: 'You can't use phones on the road'
MANILA, Philippines – Drivers of motorcycles are not allowed to use their phones on the road under the newly-enforced anti-distracted driving law, according to the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
In a RapplerTalk interview, Law Enforcement Director Francis Ray Almora of the LTO said that motorcycle drivers should pull over to the side of the road if they intend to use their phones – even for navigation.
"Definitely they should not use a device operating a motorcycle. They’re endangering not only themselves but other road users or pedestrians [too]," said Almora.
"If we will say, you are allowed to [use navigation apps using hands-free function], but then it defeats the purpose of the law, then maybe, we have to rethink this situation for the motorcycle riders," he added.
Republic Act No. 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act officially took effect Thursday, May 18. (READ: What you need to know about the Anti-Distracted Driving Act)
The law defines "distracted driving" as using telecommunications or entertainment devices while in motion or when temporarily stopped at a red traffic light.
But for drivers under the Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) company Angkas, this provision of the law is unfair to them. Angkas is a motorcycle ride booking application.
Drivers under TNVS companies are heavily reliant on their devices to accept trips or locate their passengers. (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?)
Richel Bautista, an Angkas app driver, told Rappler that the law will take away their source of income.
"Dito na lang kami kumikita, ipagbabawal pa. Akala ko ba gusto ng gobyerno tayong tulungan?" said Bautista. (This is our only source of income but [the law] prohibits it. I thought the government wants to help us?)
According to Almora, they are currently in talks with LTFRB to issue guidelines for TNVS companies like Angkas. (READ: Grab, Uber remind drivers to comply with Anti-Distracted Driving Act)
"We would like to reconcile our issuances with the LTFRB, so that the TNV service will not be in violation [of] this law," he said.
According to a 2015 National Statistics Office report, using cellular phones while driving is one of the top causes of road crash incidents, with a total of 1,290 reported incidents from 2012 to 2014.
"The intention of the law is for the general welfare of everybody. It's just not for one particular group. We have to recognize the intent – and that is for all motorists, all road users to drive safely," Almora said.– Rappler.com
Learn more about Filipinos' safety on the road by visiting the Road Safety Awareness microsite.
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