Also known as the Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016 (Republic Act 10913) that was officially became a law in August of last year. Use of electronics devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops while driving or on the road will be strictly prohibited beginning May 18, 2017.

Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016

This new law, once implemented, will no longer allow drivers and motorists across the Philippines to using their cellphones or smartphones while driving, even while being stuck in a traffic jam or stopped by traffic lights. Any one who is caught violating this act will be punished by the following.
  • 1st offense: Php5,000 fine
  • 2nd offense: Php10,000 fine
  • 3rd offense: Php15,000 fine plus three months suspension of license
  • 4th offense: Php20,000 fine plus revocation of license
There are exceptions to the rules of course such as emergency reasons. One of the exceptions on this law is using the phones hands-free such as listening to music or making calls via earphones or speakers, according to Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Section 5 of the law states "The operation of mobile communications device is not considered to be distracted if done using the aid of a hands-free function or similar device such as, but not limited to, a speaker, earphones, and microphones, or other similar devices which allow a person to make calls without having to hold the mobile communications device; Provided that the placement of the mobile communications device or the hands-free device does not interfere with the line of the sight of the driver."

A post on PhilStar says about this new law that it will also "regulate the use of highly technical devices while driving, even if motorists are using them for navigational purposes or searching for alternative routes." This does not mean you cannot use navigational apps while driving, it's just that "it should not be positioned in a way that would distract the driver." says LTO officer.  

Now that this law is officially on, we can now on the spot remind drivers who are using devices while driving. It's sad to realize that this has to become a law when it should be a common sense already that using electronics gadgets while driving is fatally dangerous. Anyway, I am still glad that we now have a more concrete reason to warn those irresponsible drivers. Hopefully, the government will also provide portals or ways for commuters to report these violating drivers in the near future.

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