Here’s the low down on the new law for you
If you haven’t heard yet, RA 10913 or the Anti-distracted Driving Law will be strictly implemented come May 18. The act, which lapsed into law last year, is meant to curb the increasing instances of accidents caused by drivers looking at their smartphones (or other electronic device) while operating a vehicle. While the law is pretty straightforward, there are some things you need to remember when the law takes effect:
What constitutes a violation of the law?
According to RA 10913, if you use a mobile communications device (i.e. a phone) to write, send or text or play games, watch movies, surf the internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations(?) and other similar acts, you are in violation of the law. That pretty much means that if you are caught by traffic enforcers touching your phone, at any time, for any reason while you are on the roads even if you’re at a red light or stuck in a traffic jam, you are going to get fined.
Waze, Spotify Are Included In The Act
Surely the authorities would have exempted the use of two of the biggest apps that people use while driving in the law, right? Wrong – RA 10913 essentially says that if you are caught manipulating or using your phone while driving, you will be fined when you are caught. You can still use both apps of course, you just have to set your destination and your playlist BEFORE you move out of your parking space and onto the roads.
What kind of fines are we looking at?
For violators of the law, you can expect a fine of Php 5,000 for the first offense, Php 10,000 for the second offense and Php 15,000 for the third offense, plus suspension of your driver’s license of three months. That’s a steep penalty for sure, which means you shouldn’t be touching your phone for any reason at all while you’re driving. Seriously, it’s not worth it.
There are exceptions, right?
Of course there are. If you’re using your phone for emergency purposes, like calling the police or an ambulance for emergency purposes, then you’re in the clear. Drivers of emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks are also not included in the act.
So I can’t touch my phone at all while on the road?
No, you can’t. But according to the act the provisions of the law does not apply to motorists of motor vehicles which are not in motion, except those which are stopped momentarily at a red light or are pulled over to the side of the road in compliance with a traffic regulation. If there’s really an email you have to answer or a Facebook status you want to read, you’ll need to look for a parking space off of the road and do your reading there.
Can I still make calls?
Sure you can, as long as you can make those calls without touching your phone or taking your eyes off of the road. There are a bunch of excellent Bluetooth, hands-free models in the market today that you can buy. Most Android phones now can do hands-free calling via voice recognition as well. If you have a newer vehicle, chances are that the entertainment system of your ride has some form of hands-free capability built into it.