Texting while driving can now get you a ticket as the Anti-Distracted Driving is now being enforced. Also known as RA 10913, the prohibits drivers from using “mobile communication devices when behind the wheel. The of act of writing, reading, sending a text-based message, making phone calls, or watching movies, surfing the internet, reading an e-book or performing any sort of computation on a mobile device by a motorist is banned, even when stationary during traffic or on stop lights.”
The Anti-Distracted Driving bill quickly passed congress and has taken effect yesterday, May 18.
Section 3 (e) of RA 10913 defines a mobile communication devices as mobile phones, two-way radios, or “similar devices capable of transmitting, receiving, or both, of encypted data and/or signals by means of wireless electronic or similar means”. The law also states that the mounting of the mobile communication device should not obstruct the driver’s line of sight.
RA 10913 covers not just private motorists in cars, but also motorcycles, trucks, PUVs, school buses, cargo haulers carrying hazardous or flammable materials, cyclists, pedicabs, ‘kuligligs’ and animal or human-powered vehicles to name a few. Also added to the list are school buses.
Motorists can use mobile devices as long as it is done so through a hands-free means. Some of these examples include speaker phone, earphones, microphones and Bluetooth devices. As per the DOTr, using a mobile device while pulled over is legal. Two more exemptions to the rule are for emergency purposes, contacting emergency services such as police, fire or medical assistance and for the operators of emergency vehicles with the latter being used to the course or scope of their duties.
Those that frequently use their mobile devices to navigate the city may continue to do so, so long as the device is not operated while the vehicle is moving or in traffic, and that it is mounted in such a way that it does not obstruct the driver’s view. Dash-board cameras are also allowed so long as they do not obstruct a driver’s view.
Those caught in violation of the law face a first offense with a fine of P5,000; a second offense with a fine of P10,000; and a third offense of P15,000, including suspension of the driver’s license for three months; finally, a fourth offense warrants a fine of P20,000, including the revocation of the driver’s license. There are heavier penalties that will be imposed for Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers, drivers of school service vehicles or drivers of a common carrier of flammable or toxic materials. Those caught in violation of the bill within a 50-meter radius of a school will be fined P30,000 and have their driver’s license suspended for three months.
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