Anti-distracted driving law’s IRR to take effect next week

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  • Implementing rules and regulations of PH’s anti-distracted driving law to take effect next week
  • Motorists told to cooperate, be compliant with new law
  • LTO executive said hands-free use of phones will be allowed but regulated

MANILA, Philippines – The Implementing Rules and Regulations of the country’s Anti-Distracted Driving Act is set to take effect next week following its publication last May 3 in newspapers of general circulation.

Distracted driving, which is defined as the “performance of a motorist of using a mobile communication device to write, send or read a text-based communications or to make or receive calls, and other similar acts; and using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar acts while in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, whether diplomatic, public or private” under the said law, will be heavily penalized.

Violators will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, P15,000 and a three-month suspension of their driver’s license, and P20,000 and revocation of their driver’s license for the fourth offense.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) executive director Romeo Vera Cruz told Philippine Star motorists may still use the hands-free features of their phones for calls and navigation. However, these will also be regulated by the new law.

“They can use headphones. They can use their smart phones without holding it because the law states that drivers should not be distracted in driving even during the stoplight or temporary stop,” he said. “If they are using Waze, the device should not be positioned in a way that would distract the driver.”

The law also exempts from liability motorists who would use their mobile phone for an emergency purpose such as calling the police or health care provider, or those who use their mobile phone while operating an emergency vehicle providing emergency assistance.