11 things to know about "distracted driving"

The Anti-Distracted Driving Act, officially recorded as Republic Act No. 10913, is a law in the Philippines that prohibits distracted driving by restricting and penalizing the use of mobile phones and other electronics devices while driving on any public thoroughfare, highway or street in the Philippines.

This law defines "distracted driving" as "using mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls" or "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" while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle or while temporarily stopped at a red light.

The law covers all private and public vehicles, including agricultural machines, construction equipments, public utility buses and jeepneys, taxicabs, motorcycles, tricycles, pedicabs, kuligligs and carriages.


1. What is RA 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act?

RA 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act is a new law that prohibits motorists from using communication devices and other electronic entertainment and computing
gadgets while vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped on a traffic light or an intersection. A motorist, as defined under this law, is a person who is driving motor vehicle.

2. What vehicles are covered by this Act?

This act covers both public and private vehicles. It also covers wheeled agricultural machineries, construction equipment, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles,
pedicabs, trolleys, "habal-habal", "kuligligs", wagons, carriages and carts that may either be human-powered or pulled by an animal as long as the same are operated or
driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets.

3. What does this law prohibit?

Prohibited acts made while driving include but not limited to: making or receiving calls, writing, sending or reading text-based communications, playing games, watching
movies, performing calculations, reading e-books, composing messages and surfing or browsing the internet.

4. What are the actions exempted from this law?

Motorists are allowed to use their devices to make or take emergency calls to authorities in case of a crime, accidents, bomb or terrorist threat, fire or explosion, instances
needing immediate medical attention, or when personal safety and security is compromised.
5. Can we use hands-free devices like microphones and earphones?

Yes. Motorists can use the aid of hands-free function and applications as long as these do not interfere with the driver's line of sight. This means that no communication or
electronic gadget should be affixed on the car's dashboard and steering wheel. In addition, drivers are only allowed to wear earphones when making or receiving calls. Using
earphones to listen to music falls under "similar acts" in Section 4B of the law, in addition to reckless driving violation penalized under other relevant laws.

6. Can we still use traffic and navigational apps like Waze and Google Maps while driving?

Yes. Although motorists are being advised to set their preffered destination on these applications prior to their departure. Gadgets with these applications may be installed in
areas that will not obstruct the driver's view. In cases when motorists need to find alternate routes while in traffic, they are advised to first pull their vehicles aside.

7. Who are authorized to apprehend violating motorists?

The DOTr - Land Transportation Office (LTO) is the lead implementing agency of the Act. The LTO also has the authority to deputize members of the PNP, MMDA and LGUs
to carry out enforcement functions and duties.

8. How will we know if drivers of private vehicles with heavily-tinted windshields are violating the law?

Aside from high-definition cameras that can monitor lights from devices inside heavily-tinted vehicles, the law will also be strictly enforced by enforcers on the ground who
were well-trained to determine from the movement of the vehicle whether or not a driver commits distracted driving. A Memorandum Circular setting specifications on the
regulation of tints shall be released by LTO soon, upon consultation with tint manufacturers.

9. What are the penalties?

Violators will be penalized with a fine of five thousand pesos (Php 5,000) for the first offense, ten thousand pesos (Php 10,000) for the second offense, and fifteen thousand
pesos (Php 15,000) for the third offense with a three-month suspension of driver's license. Violations incurred beyond the third offense shall be penalized with the revocation
of driver's license and a fine of twenty thousand pesos (Php 20,000).

10. Are operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) also liable for violations made by drivers?

Yes. Operators and owners of Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) and other commercial vehicles shall both be held liable for the violations committed by their drivers.

11. When will this be implemented?

The Anti-Distracted Driving Act shall be implemented nationwide starting May 18, 2017.

SOURCES: LTO (2017). Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. Published: 18 May 2017 Last. Updated: 18 May 2017. www.lto.gov.ph/latest-advisory/317-republic-act-10913-or-the-anti-distracted-driving-act.html; Anti-Distracted Driving Act (Philippines). From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Distracted_Driving_Act_(Philippines)

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