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A woman replies to a text message while driving—a no-no under the new Anti-Distracted Driving (ADD) Law.

Anti-Distracted Driving law now in effect

Fifteen days after the publication of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR), the law prohibiting forms of distracted driving for both public and private vehicles took effect on May 18, 2017, the Department of Transporation (DOTr) said. 

In a statement, the DOTr said Republic Act 10913, or the Anti-Distracted Driving (ADD) Law, defined distracted driving as “the performance by motorists of any acts on the usage of their mobile communication, electronic entertainment, and computing gadgets devices while their 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 a motor vehicle.”

“Such 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,” it added.

“Motorists, however, are allowed to apply hands-free function or applications in the use of such gadgets as long as these do not interfere with their line of sight,” the department said.

According to the DOTr, the ADD law is a preventive measure to avoid or lessen accidents and injuries from happening while promoting road safety and responsible driving among motorists.

The law not only covers public and private vehicles, but also wheeled agricultural machineries; construction equipment; and other forms of conveyances, such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, habal-habal, kuliglig, wagons, carriages, and carts that may either be human-powered or pulled by an animal, as long as these are operated or driven on public roads.

The department said the law exempts motorists who use their mobile phones in making or taking an emergency call to or from a law-enforcement agent/agency to report a crime or prohibited act, accident, natural calamity, or bomb threat. It also exempts motorists who are reporting a fire or explosion to a fire department, or reporting terrorist activities and the like. Government or non-government medical or healthcare providers using their phones in emergency and rescue situations are also exempted.

Violators shall pay a fine of P5,000 on the first offense, P10,000 on the second, and P15,000 on the third, plus a three-month suspension of driver’s license. Those who violated the law after the third time shall have their driver’s license revoked and pay a fine of P20,000.

Owners and operators of public utility vehicles (PUV) and commercial vehicles found violating this law shall both be held liable.

The DOTR’s Land Transportation Office (LTO) is the lead implementing agency of RA 10913. It has the authority to deputize members of the Philippine National Police, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and local government units to enforce this law.

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