By Vanne Terrazola and Anna Liza Alavaren
Starting today (July 6) law enforcers will apprehend motorists using electronic gadgets while driving their vehicles as the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) takes effect nationwide.
“Distracted driving” refers to the use of communication devices and any other electronic and computing gadgets while driving a vehicle or even when one is not in motion like stopping in intersections or obeying traffic lights.
The ADDA was first implemented last May 18 but had to be suspended five days later because of confusing implementing guidelines some of which veered from the intent of the law.
Last June 21, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) released a revised Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR) that made the road safety measure effective in 15 days which is today.
Enforcers from the DOTr’s sub-agencies — Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), as well as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) are mandated to apprehend violators.
Under the improved ADDA, drivers of all types of vehicles whether private of public, who will be caught texting or fiddling their mobile phones and other entertainment devices while driving or not in motion like obeying traffic lights will be fined.
While the use of mobile device for navigation, transport officials advise drivers to use its hands-free function. Earphones and speakers should be used when taking important calls.
Gadgets are also allowed on top of the dashboard provided that it should not exceed the four-inch height limit.
Mobile devices on motorcycles, however will not be allowed anywhere in the driver’s line of sight.
Violators will be fined P5,000 on the first offense and P10,000 on the second offense. On the third offense, drivers will be fined P15,000 plus a suspension of their license. In the fourth offense, a fine of P20,000 will be imposed in addition to the revocation of the driver’s license.
Victor Nunez, MMDA legal and legislative affairs staff, said the agency will make use of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to spot drivers caught using mobile communication devices while driving.
Nunez said at least 30 members of the Metrobase Command Center have undergone briefing and training last week in preparation for the enforcement of ADDA.
“All of them were given the copy of the modified implementing rules and Regulations (IRR) from the Department of Transportation (DOTr),” said Nunez.
Ronnie Rivera, head of the No Contact Apprehension policy head, admits they will have difficulty apprehending violators whose vehicles are heavily-tinted. .
“Only those visibly using cellular phones will be listed as violators. Their licensed plates will be recorded,” said Rivera.
The MMDA will mail out summons containing details of their violations.
Under the No Contact Apprehension policy, the vehicle’s owner has seven days to pay the corresponding fine of the traffic violation at the MMDA or any Metrobank branch.
“Should they fail to settle the fine; the MMDA will send final notice after seven days. At this point, motorists must not ignore the notice or it will be reported to the Land Transportation Office and violators would be included in the alarm list,” said Rivera.
They also have the right to contest or protest before the MMDA-Traffic Adjudication Division (TAD) within seven days upon receipt of the summons.
Records of the vehicle owners or licensed plates are retrieved from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) records.
Covered by the scheme are major thoroughfares including Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa), Commonwealth Avenue, Diosdado Macapagal Avenue, Marcos Highway, Roxas Boluevard, C5 Road, Quezon Avenue, among other major roads.
Aside from public and private vehicles, the law 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.
Tags: Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Hands off gadgets as ADDA takes effect today, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Manila Bulletin, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP – HPG), Republic Act 10913
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