Two new road safety bills, the “Anti-Distracted Driving Act” and the “Speed Limiters Act of 2016”, have lapsed into law on July 21, according to a congressional panel.
Republic Act No. 10913 entitled the “Anti-Distracted Driving Act” penalizes drivers for using their mobile phones while driving.
The law defines “distracted driving” as performing any of the following acts while driving a vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red traffic light: “using mobile communications to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls,” along with “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.”
Operating mobile phones through the use of the hands-free feature, speakerphone mode, or peripherals such as earphones or headsets, which allow users to communicate without holding the phone, is not considered a violation of the law. Motorists using mobile phones for emergency purposes are exempted from the law.
Violators will face a fine of P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second time. Third-time offenders will be charged P15,000, in addition to the suspension of their driver’s license.
The Department of Transportation’s Land Transportation Office (LTO) is designated to be the implementing agency for the new law. The law also mandates the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other related agencies to enforce the law.
Republic Act No. 10916 or the “Speed Limiters Act of 2016” enforces the installation of speed limiters on selected public utility vehicles with the goal of reducing road accidents. The law orders public vehicle operators to install speed limiters on their vehicles.