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Highlights

FAQ: Anti-Distracted Driving Law of the Philippines




There were a lot of questions regarding the coverage and implementation of the Anti Distracted Driving Law (which is more commonly referred to as the No Texting While Driving Law of the Philippines).

We know the new law can be confusing so we made a collection of frequently asked questions gathered from multiple interviews with LTFRB and MMDA officials regarding the details of this new law.

When did it become a law?

In August 1, 2016, the Anti-Distracted Driving Act lapsed and became a law. Implementation will start on May 18, 2017 and covers nationwide.

What are acts are covered and considered illegal?

Distracted driving refers to the performance by a motorist of any of the following acts in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, whether diplomatic, public or private:

• Using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls.
• 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.

Dash cams, media players and other similar devices are also included. As long as the device has a display monitor, it’s technically included.

What are the Types of Vehicles Included?

The law covers all automobiles, trucks, vans, buses, jeeps, motorcycles and tricycles.

Likewise, wheeled agricultural machineries such as tractors and construction equipment such as graders, rollers, backhoes, pay loaders, cranes, bulldozers, mobile concrete mixers and the like, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, habal-habal , trolleys, “kuligligs”, wagons, carriages, carts, sledges, chariots or the like, whether animal or human-powered, are covered by the provisions of this Act.

What constitutes a distracted driving?

If the placement of the device is against the line-of-sight of the driver when looking at the road. This means no devices hanging right in front of the driver, nor anything that would cover view of the windshield.

Driver must not operate the device while driving or even while momentarily stopped at a red light or in the middle of traffic??

If the driver wants to operate or navigate the device, answer/make a call, he/she must stop on the shoulder of the road or away from the normal flow of traffic.

It is not considered as distracted driving if you’re not holding the mobile device like when in hands-free function, using the speaker phone, earphones and microphones. Provided, that the placement of the mobile device or hands-free device does not interfere with the line of sight of the driver.

Are the any exceptions?

• When used for emergency purposes such as an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services, agency or entity.

• When operating an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, fire truck, and other vehicles providing emergency assistance.

What are the penalties?

1st offense: Php5,000 fine
2nd offense: Php10,000 fine
3rd offense: Php15,000 fine + 3 months suspension of license
4th offense: Php20,000 fine + revocation of driver’s license

Who will enforce this law?

MMDA, police, LGUs and other deputized traffic officers.

MMDA will also use their hi-res CCTVs in Metro Manila to make contactless citations (it’s possible to check with mayhuliba.com). MMDA will likewise use the CCTV to identify traffic officers that will abuse or extort drivers.

When apprehended, no need to surrender the driver’s license. You will just be issued a citation ticket that you can pay at any MMDA accredited payment centers, included Metrobank branches.

If you do not pay the fines, these will be accumulated until you renew your license. You will not be able to renew unless you pay the penalties and surcharges.

Note: Buses and trucks with explosive or flammable cargo face stiffer fines if they are caught using the devices within 50 meters of any school area. The penalty is Php30,000 on the first offense and automatic suspension for 3 months.


Author’s Note: We will regularly update this to include more details as we gather them so bookmark this page.



Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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44 Responses

  1. Jared says:

    What about dash cams?

  2. Jared says:

    I’m no lawyer but I don’t see anything pertaining to dash cams nor something like “As long as the device has a display monitor, it’s technically included.”
    SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act:
    e) Mobile communications devices – electronic communications equipment such as, but not limited to, cellular phone, wireless telephones, two-way radio transceivers, pagers and other similar devices capable of transmitting, receiving, or both, of encrypted data and/or signals through wireless electronic or any other similar means;
    SEC. 4. Distracted Driving. – Subject to the qualifications in Sections 5 and 6 of this Act, distracted driving refers to the performance by a motorist of any of the following acts in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, whether diplomatic, public or private, which are hereby declared unlawful:
    a) Using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls, and,
    b) 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.

    • Abe Olandres says:

      Could be interpreted as “computing device”.

    • legiN says:

      “Subject to the qualifications in Sections 5 and 6 of this Act”

      Sec. 5. Extent of Coverage. — (a) The operation of a mobile communications device is not considered to be “distracted” driving if done using the aid of a hands-free function or similar device such as, but not limited to, a speaker phone, earphones and microphones or other similar devices which allow a person to make and receive 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 sight of the driver”.

    • Abe Olandres says:

      It can be interpreted as “b) electronic computing device to perform other similar acts.”

    • Gneel says:

      In Section 4 (b) “using” refers to an active operation of a “HANDHELD device” (see Sec 3 (b)). Dashcams are neither handheld devices ( marketed as to be mounted), nor is it being operated while driving. I can’t see why it could be a violation under SEC 4 b.

      Relative to a driver, what angle is supposed to be a distraction to the line of site? How can we be certain for compliance of SEC 5? May IRR na ba to? Sa may alam, pahingi naman ng link.

    • Gneel says:

      In Section 4 (b) “using” refers to an active operation of a “HANDHELD device” (see Sec 3 (b)). Dashcams are neither handheld devices ( marketed as to be mounted), nor is it being operated while driving. I can’t see why it could be a violation under SEC 4 b.

      Relative to a driver, what angle is supposed to be a distraction to the line of site? How can we be certain for compliance of SEC 5?

      Yung IRR parang niretype lang na RA 10913, no further explanations, standards or parameters provided.

      Subject to own interpretations of each traffic enforcers na naman to. Alam na! Good luck Philippines.

  3. JP says:

    It says “no need to surrender your license”. What about the LGUs that apprehend?

  4. TheNamikaze says:

    How about if yun phone nasa phone holder. Yun phone holder naka kabit near the aircon. Your phone naka open si Waze, then you try to navigate, touch the screen to control waze, pwede ba yun mahuli?

  5. nukki says:

    what about dash cams below the rear view mirror? bawal ba yun? doon natin nilalagay karamihan.

  6. Lito Balangue says:

    what about vehicles that display their doll/stuffed toys. It also impedes their vision.

  7. Yol says:

    How about dashcam built in sa rear view mirror?

  8. Ron says:

    Pwede bang gamitin sa waze/maps pero nasa harap ng driver? Thanks

  9. Gabby says:

    A dashcam cannot be qualified as covered under this Act because it does not classify under the definition of terms.

    The definitions are very specific:

    “(b) Electronic entertainment and computing device – any HANDHELD electronic device capable of….”

    Just from the word “handheld” alone, a dashcam is already exempt from the prohibitions of this Act because it is not used to be operated by hand while driving.

    “(e) Mobile communications devices – electronic communications equipment… capable of transmitting, receiving or both, of encrypted data and/or signals through wireless electronic or any similar means.”

    Dashcams (unless it has wireless functions such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) are also not covered by this description as well because they do not transmit any wireless data.

  10. Ron says:

    https://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/2307119809!.pdf

    Please look in to section 5, it explains everything about what is not considered distracted driving. Parang tanga lang kasi yung mga binabalita, ndi nililinaw at least dito nakaindicate tlga..

  11. Frank U. says:

    This is just fricking nuts. It certainly affects a group of individuals who are using certain devices while on the road. *ehem-uber-grab. And also on a noticeable note, they should exempt dashcams here, it’s supposed to be an idle type of device and it’s also protection while driving on the road. I mean, are they including dashcams so no one can record every ‘kotong’ type of propaganda some of our law enforcers do for a living? ONLY in the philippines. Lol

  12. Anonymous says:

    I suppose running Waze on in-dash Car Stereo (2DIN) is exempted. If this is the case, then there’s a need for the proliferation of these in-dash units to replace all existing car stereos. Hope that these are really affordable for all car users.

  13. Gabby says:

    Just read an article in TopGear where they clarified a lot of issues with the authorities regarding this law. Here are the most interesting notes for everyone’s peace of mind:

    “According to officials, line of sight includes your entire windshield and on top of your dashboard, except for the area behind the rear-view mirror. Officials pointed out that behind the rear-view is where you can place your dashcam, as you don’t need to look at it while driving.

    As for phone mounts, these can be placed either behind (but not on) your steering wheel on the instrument panel, or on the center of your dashboard where the center air-con vents normally sit. The official papers state, ‘Gadgets with [navigation] applications may be installed in areas that will not obstruct the driver’s view.'”

  14. kira says:

    This law is like saying “Driver skills today are weak compared to the 80s, 90s as they could not do multi-tasking”. IF this is true how does this law explain PUV drivers receiving “bayad/sukli” with super divided attention. That is worst than using your phone while on stop.

  15. Jel says:

    Eh yung mga jeep, tricycles na walang headlight sa gabi o kaya pula yung headlight di hinuhuli e2 pa kaya..

  16. Ping says:

    How about those with dark tints? Enforcers will have difficulty seeing the driver inside if he/she is using a cp.

  17. Maria says:

    And why are dash cams included? They are there for a reason, and that is for the SECURITY of the driver. Even police cars abroad have them. Why on earth was this included? Were they not thinking?

  18. Edmund Julia says:

    This law is gives an opportunity for the apprehending officer to fleece you. There’s so much ambiguity in the law. By just reading the comments in this website, there are already different interpretations. It is even more confusion on who is right and who is wrong.

  19. cabalyero says:

    ang talino naman ng gumawa nito pati dash cam sinali pinalulusot nyo lang ung mga kawatan nyong enforcers
    dash cam are made to RECORD ALL in case there will be accident happens no one saw the accident the dash cams can show it pati na ung mga kurakot at mapangabuso na traffic enforcers pano na ung mga private car owners na madalas abusuhin ng mga enforcers dito hay naku ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES NGA there is this country na nirequired ng GOV’T nila ang dash cam for SAFETY dito halatang may balak na masama

    • Kevin Ong says:

      Istraight tagalog mo na lang yung gusto mong sabihi , nakakasakit ng ulo English grammar mo idol.

  20. Ian says:

    Kung Naka Motorcycle ka? Saan po pede ilagay yung CP Holder to use waze? Need sample image or good definition?

  21. Jon says:

    Ito ang mahirap pag nag-implement ka ng batas na maraming butas at open for interpretation. Kanya kanya tayong interpretation. In the end, my word against the enforcer, unless na video-han ka. Buti sana kung maliit lang ang penalty, eh 1st offense pa lang 5k agad. Pati dashcam pinag diskitahan pero yung mga dashboard na puno ng stuffed toy eh okay lang? Arrrgh!

  22. David says:

    To Anonymous.

    Actually, meron yung 2-Din na head unit running on Android OS. Medyo mahal nga lang siya mga between 28k to 35K, depending on your car model. Available siya locally sa Growl Audio (OEM in-dash Audio, Video and Navigation (AVN) system.). You can heck out their website @www.growlaudio. com.

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