No more texting while driving, new law states

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – From now on, using gadgets while driving is punishable by law.

The Anti-Distracted Driving Act has lapsed into law after former president Benigno Aquino III did not sign it before he stepped down from office last June 30.

Under the law, distracted driving is defined as the use of mobile phone and/or electronics or equipment while motor vehicle is in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light.

It does not distinguish diplomatic, public or private vehicles.

But operating a mobile phone through hands-free function – or the use of a device such as but not limited to speaker phone, earphones and microphones which allow a person to make and receive calls without having to hold the mobile phone – is not considered as distracted driving.

As long as the placement of the mobile communications device or the hands-free device does not interfere with the line of sight of the driver, it is not also a violation of the law.

Another exception is when a motorist is using a mobile phone for emergency purposes.

First time and second time violators will be slapped with P5,000 fine and P10,000 fine, respectively.

Third time violators will face a P15,000 fine and suspension of driver’s license for three months, while fourth time offenders will be slapped with P20,000 fine and revocation of driver’s license.

The Department of Transportation and its Land Transportation Agency are designated as the implementing agencies for the new law.

The law also mandates the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Philippine National Police and other concerned agencies to enforce the law. 

Stakeholders are waiting for the draft implementing rules and guidelines of the law.

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