Safer roads ahead: Mobile phones can no longer be ‘used’ while driving in PH
It would appear that Philippine roads will be safer starting May 18 as Republic Act (RA) 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act is set to take full effect.
HANDS-FREE ONLY. By May 18, you’re no longer allowed to use your smartphone while driving unless you can go hands-free./IMAGE pexels.com
RA 10913 bans the use of a mobile phone to write, send, receive, or read a text message or to take or make calls while driving. The act also covers other electronic entertainment or computing device (read: tablets, laptops, hand-held gaming consoles, etc.) that can be used to “play games, watch movies, surf the internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations, and other similar acts.”
You can still use your mobile device provided your vehicle is “not in motion” or parked (Sec. 5, paragraph c). The not-in-motion phrase, however, is not extended to when you’re stopped before a red light or flagged down for a violation.
Another way drivers can still use their mobile device is when said device is operated hands-free (Sec. 5, paragraph a), which includes putting it on speaker or using earphones and microphones. Your smartphone should, however, not interfere with your line of sight (i.e. be in a place that blocks your view of the road).
If you are caught driving while distracted by a mobile device, you’ll have to pay the following fines:
- P5,000 for the first offense
- P10,000 for the second offense
- P15,000 plus a 3-month suspension of your license for the third offense
- P20,000 plus revocation of your license if caught one last time
Drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) are not exempted, along with anyone driving any agricultural machinery or any kind of vehicle for that matter, be it motor, animal, or human-powered.
Long story short: if you’re on the road and you’re driving anything, you can be flagged down for distracted driving.
Another bill that will take effect on May 18 is RA 10666, or the Safety of Children Aboard Motorcycles Act, which prohibits anyone from driving a two-wheeled motorcycle with a child on public roads. The Department of Transportation is also set to release the IRR for RA 10916, or the Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016, which requires all covered vehicles (Sec. 3, paragraph B) to have a standard speed limiter installed.