The Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016, also known as Republic Act 10913, takes effect starting on May 18, 2017. It aims to lessen road accidents by not allowing the use of gadgets while driving.
However, there are still several ways that drivers can use smartphones, dashcams and other gadgets without breaking the new law. These has to be remembered carefully so technology and safety can go together.
NOT ALLOWED Uses of Gadgets while Driving
First and foremost, drivers are not allowed to write, read or send text messages. They can’t make or receive calls too.
Watching movies, reading ebooks, surfing the internet and other similar uses of gadgets are also illegal while driving. Even using apps and playing games are not allowed!
Gadgets that are placed within the line of sight of the driver are also not allowed. This pertains to those gadget holders that stick to the windshield, placed on top of the dashboard and in the steering wheel.
ALLOWED Uses of Gadgets while Driving
Drivers can still use their gadgets as long as they interact with it using voice commands or handsfree controls. This can be done using digital voice assistants such as Siri and Google Now.
Looking at gadgets is totally not allowed. Hence, Waze, Google Maps and other traffic companion apps should be set to the destination before driving the car. Remember to put it below the driver’s line of sight though and just listen to the app’s directions given by voice.
Dashcams can be used by putting it in front of the rear-view mirror.
Exemptions to the Anti-Distracted Driving Act
Drivers are exempted from the law when the use of a gadget is for emergency purposes. These include calling hospitals, the police, the fire department and other emergency entities.
Drivers of fire trucks, ambulances and police mobiles are also exempted. These are people who need to use gadgets for their line of work.
Fines and Penalties
Violating the Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016 has these fines and penalties:
First Offense: ₱5,000.00 in fines
Second Offense: ₱10,000.00 in fines
Third Offense: ₱15,000.00 in fines and suspension of driver’s license for three months
Fourth Offense: ₱20,000.00 in fines and revocation of driver’s license
Drivers of public utility vehicles, school service vehicles and vehicles that carry flammable and toxic materials are subject to higher penalties if caught violating the act within 50 meters from a school.
We are not lawyers so our interpretation of Republic Act 10913 might have some mistakes. Follow the statements above at your own discretion.
Here’s the full text of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016 for your reference.