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.