Moms, Anti-Distracted Driving Act Suspended


UPDATED as of May 23, 2017: The DOTr has officially suspended the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. The following is their Official Statement:

To respond to the call of both Houses of Congress to defer the implementation of ADDA, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) take heed to the Congress, being the authors of the law, to defer the enforcement of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA).

Relative thereto, the DOTr shall immediately revive its Technical Working Group to conduct a review of the IRR in coordination with concerned stakeholders. An Information and Education Campaign (IEC) shall commence as soon as the new IRR is crafted. In the meantime, we invite the public to continue the constructive discussion on this new law so as to contribute on how we could all better promote road safety, discipline, and responsible driving. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Anti-Distracted Driving Act or RA 10913 is now in effect nationwide. The new law prohibits motorists from using communication devices and computing gadgets while vehicles are in motion. Motorists may not use these gadgets when the vehicles are temporarily stopped on a traffic light or an intersection as well.

This comes at a most opportune time as death and injuries involving distracted drivers have become an urban phenomenon. According to the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three types of distractions among motorists: - Taking eyes off the road - Taking hands off the wheel - Taking mind off of driving

The motorist may be distracted when he uses his cell phone, when he sends a text message, or when he eats or drinks. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, according to the CDC. In a CDC study, it found out that the average text takes the motorist's eyes off the road long enough to cover a football field at 55 mph.

Here are the guidelines issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board relating to the Anti-Distracted Driving Act:

What vehicles are covered? The law covers public and private vehicles. It also covers wheeled agricultural machineries, construction equipment, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, “habal-habal,” “kuligligs,” wagons, carriages, and carts that may either be human-powered or pulled by an animal as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways, or streets.

What does it prohibit? Prohibited acts made while driving include but not limited to: making or receiving calls, writing, sending or reading text-based communications, playing games, watching movies, performing calculations, reading e-books, composing messages, and surfing or browsing the internet.

What actions are exempted? Motorists are allowed to use their devices to make or take emergency calls to authorities in cases of a crime, accidents, bomb or terrorist threat, fire or explosion, instances needing immediate medical attention, or when personal safety and security is compromised.

Can motorists use hands-free devices like microphones and earphones? Yes. Motorists can use the aid of hands-free function and applications as long as these do not interfere with the driver’s line of sight. This means that no communication or electronic gadget should be affixed on the car’s dashboard and steering wheel. In addition, drivers are only allowed to wear earphones when making or receiving calls. Using earphones to listen to music falls under “similar acts” in Section 4B of the law, in addition to reckless driving violation penalized under other relevant laws.

Can motorists still use traffic and navigational apps like Waze and Google Maps while driving? Yes. Although motorists are being advised to set their preferred destination on these applications prior to their departure. Gadgets with these applications may be installed in areas that will not obstruct the driver’s view. In cases when motorists need to find alternate routes while in traffic, they are advised to first pull their vehicles aside.

Who are authorized to apprehend violating motorists? The DOTr - Land Transportation Office (LTO) is the lead implementing agency of the Act. The LTO also has the authority to deputize members of the PNP, MMDA, and LGUs to carry out enforcement functions and duties.

What are the penalties? Violators will be penalized with a fine of five thousand pesos (P5,000) for the first offense, ten thousand pesos (P10,000) for the second offense, and fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000) for the third offense with a three-month suspension of driver’s license. Violations incurred beyond the third offense shall be penalized with the revocation of driver’s license and a fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000).