MANILA, Philippines- Drivers caught using gadgets on the road may now be penalized under Republic Act 10913 or Anti-Distracted Driving Law.
The bill, which penalizes motorists using mobile phones and other electronic gadgets while driving, has lapsed into law after former President Benigno Aquino III did not sign or veto it before he left office on June 30. The said bill lapsed into law on July 31 or 30 days after it was received by Aquino, according to the House Committee on Transportation.
With distracted driving becoming a serious threat to road safety according to the 2015 World Health Organization Global Status Report on Road Safety, the said law is necessary to protect motorists in the country from possible accidents caused by distracted driving.
Here are some important things you need to know about the new law:
- Distracted driving, under the new law, is defined as the use of mobile devices to compose, send or read text-based communication as well as to place or receive calls.
- It also involves the use of electronic entertainment or computing device to watch movies, play games, compose messages, surf the Internet, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar activities.
- For the first offense, violators will be fined P5,000, P10,000 for the second offense and P15,000 as well as a three-month suspension of driver’s license for the third offense. For succeeding offenses, violators will face a fine of P20,000 and a revocation of driver’s license.
- Drivers of PUVs, common carriers of “volatile, flammable or toxic materials”, school services as well as drivers caught guilty of distracted driving within a 50-meter radius from school premises have to pay a higher fine of P30,000. Their driver’s license will also be subject to suspension for three months.
- Operators of PUVs and commercial vehicles will also be held liable if they fail to show that they exercised diligences in the selection and supervision of their drivers.
- Drivers using their mobile phones during emergency situations such as contacting hospitals, law enforcement agencies and fire departments are exempted from the law. Drivers of ambulance, fire trucks and other emergency assistance vehicles are also exempted.