DOTr suspends implementation of anti-distracted driving act

MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has suspended the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) that prohibits motorists from using mobile devices and electronic gadgets, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member and spokesperson, Aileen Lizada, said Tuesday.

Lizada said that for the meantime, the DOTr will conduct an information campaign.

No definite date has been set for the reimplementation of the ADDA.

The move comes after various sectors, such as members of Congress and transport groups and some drivers of public and private vehicles, called for its suspension due to confusion in its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

Among the concerns raised are the banning of rosaries, figurines and other accessories on dashboards that distract the view of drivers, as well as the use of navigational apps, such as Waze, while driving.

Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act prohibits motorists from making or receiving calls, writing, sending or reading text-based communications, playing online games, watching movies, surfing or browsing the Internet, among others, while vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped on a traffic light or an intersection.

Drivers are however allowed to apply hands-free functions or applications in using such devices or gadgets, so long as these do not obstruct their line of sight.

Violators will be fined PHP5,000 for the first offense, PHP10,000 for the second offense, and PHP15,000 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 the driver’s license and a fine of PHP20,000.

Owners and operators of public utility vehicles (PUV) and commercial vehicles found in violation of the act shall both be held liable. Aerol Pateña/PNA