Watch out, drivers! The Anti-Distracted Driving bill that passed deliberations in congress last June is now a law. Here’s a link of the Senate bill which was adapted to what became Republic Act 10913.
The salient points of the Act, as passed around and shared on social media are as follows:
“Using a mobile communications to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls,” 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.”
The violation carries very stiff penalties.
1st offense -5,000
2nd offense -10,000
3rd offense -15,000
4th offense -20,000 plus cancellation of Driver’s License
The ever reliable local motoring journalist James Deakin summarized an FAQ on some of the questions or vague points of the law. So even using Waze while you’re behind the wheel in transit is considered a violation even if you’re using a dash or windscreen mount for your device.
Some of the vague areas are what if you’re looking for alternative routes using Waze? And what if your car entertainment system is one of those more modern Android-powered ones that are touchscreen? That is technically a computing device.
In fact, if you’d be really nitty-gritty with this, distracted driving should also cover all acts that splits attention from the act of driving including – eating, fiddling with the radio, glancing at your passenger while having a conversation, etc… We could just hope the authorities would clarify these things.
While we wait for the LTO and MMDA to clarify what specific scenarios and acts can and will be considered violations, let’s all play on the safe side and don’t touch your screens and phones while driving.