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Driver apprehended for distracted driving

CEBU, Philippines - On the second day of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act’s implementation yesterday, a driver was apprehended after authorities saw a gadget placed on the dash board of the car he was driving.

The alleged violator was traversing the Cebu South Coastal Road at the South Road Properties in Cebu City when authorities noticed a tablet on his vehicle’s dash board, according to Joel Maloloy-on, operations chief of the Land Transportation Office-7.

The use of phones, tablets, and other communication and electronic devices while driving is now prohibited across the country.  Hands-free devices, however, are permitted, provided they won’t disturb the driver.

"Ma-consider man nga ang iyang tablet maka-distract man sa iyang line of sight. Mao na nga gidakop siya," Maloloy-on said, not revealing the identity of the driver as part of the protocol.

The violator’s driver’s license was confiscated and he was issued a temporary operator’s permit (TOP) valid for three days. Within that period, the driver has to pay a fine of P5,000 as penalty for the first offense.

If the driver’s license will remain unclaimed after the lapse of 15 days, Maloloy-on said the license will be suspended for 30 days from the time of apprehension.

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Meanwhile, law enforcers yesterday admitted it would be hard for them to implement ADD Law owing to manpower constraints.

Cebu City, for example, with its land area of 315 square kilometers and many major roads, has a Traffic Patrol Group (TPG) composed of only 15 police personnel.

Cebu City Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Joel Doria said his office is ready to implement the law, but additional policemen need to be deputized for this purpose upon the request of the Land Transportation Office.

“Ang lead agency kasi diyan ay LTO, but we can always support other agencies para i-implement ang batas natin. Alam naman nila kung kakailanganin nila ng added personnel, nandiyan naman ang kapulisan,” said Doria.

Under the existing setup, the 15 TPG members are assigned to implement the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (Republic Act 4136), which sets out the rules on land transportation and traffic.

While these policemen are allowed to issue citation tickets for traffic violations, they have not been tapped to enforce the ADD Law so far.

Doria said he does not see any problem with the ADD’s implementation once more policemen are deployed.

“Nandiyan naman ang pulis natin, and we have personnel also from the stations all over Cebu City. We are continuously requesting ng deputation ng personnel natin and we have to comply with the requirements also. Nasa LTO na yan, kung ipa-fast-track nila ang mga request natin,” the CCPO director said.

In other towns and cities in Cebu, police do not see any problem with implementation.

Senior Superintendent Eric Noble, director of Cebu Provincial Police Office, said there are enough police personnel in these areas to monitor drivers. — Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Mae Clydyl L. Avila, and Ermida Q. Moradas (FREEMAN)

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