DOTr: Rosaries, crucifixes and other dashboard accessories not covered by Anti Distracted Driving Act

MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has allowed accessories such as rosaries, crucifixes, figurines, among others, to be mounted on dashboards of vehicles and will not cover activities such as putting make-up, drinking coffee and other similar acts.

DOTr spokesperson Asec. Leah Quiambao stated that the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) only prohibits drivers from holding and using mobile devices and electronic gadgets while vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped on a traffic light or an intersection.

The IRR of the ADDA prohibits acts such as making or receiving calls; writing or reading text messages; playing games; watching movies; performing calculations; reading e-books; composing messages and surfing or browsing the Internet while driving.

Drivers should not also use their cellphones while they are stuck in traffic.

“Even if a driver is stuck in traffic, as long as he is behind the wheel, he is still prohibited from using his mobile phone,” said Land Transportation Office (LTO) chief Edgar Galvante in a press briefing Wednesday which was also attended by officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and representatives of transport safety organizations.

Drivers may also use hands free function such as speaker phones, earphones, microphones, or other similar devices to make and receive calls without holding their mobile phones. They may use their devices to make or take emergency calls to authorities in cases of a crime, accidents, bomb or terrorist threat, fire or explosion, instances needing immediate medical attention, or when personal and safety is compromised.

The use of dashcams is not covered by the law but these must be placed at the back of the rear view mirror of vehicles.

GPS or cellphones may be placed or mounted below, at the same level, or on top of the dashboard and even on the windshield, as long as it does not exceed higher than four inches from the dashboard.

In the case of navigational apps, motorists are advised to set their destination prior to their departure. In cases when motorists need to find alternate routes while in traffic, they are advised to first pull their vehicles aside.

The revised guidelines were a result of the consultations that the DOTr and its attached agencies conducted with various transport groups, motoring experts and members of Congress after the prior IRR of ADDA was suspended last May 23, 2017 due to the confusion on its implementation which started on May 18, 2017.

“ADDA aims to prevent road accidents that might cause loss of lives,” Quiambao reiterated.

For his part, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra stated that the DOTr will ask Congress to pass a measure revising the ADDA to ensure the inclusion of distracted driving acts that are not currently covered by the law.

The law covers both public and private vehicles, wheeled agricultural machineries, construction, equipment, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, “habal-habal”, “kuligligs”, wagons, carriages, and carts that are either human-powered or pulled by an animal as long as these are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets.

Violators will be penalized with a fine of 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 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 said Act shall both be held liable.

The LTO is the lead implementing agency in the implementation of the act. It also has the authority to deputize members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), MMDA, and local government units to carry out enforcement functions and duties.

Through its “no contact” traffic apprehension policy, the MMDA will utilize CCTV cameras at the Metrobase to capture videos and images to apprehend violators of the ADDA.

The IRR will take effect 15 days after its publication in at least two newspapers of general circulation.

The DOTr, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine National Police (PNP) and private agencies and organizations shall undertake an information and education campaign on the ADDA. Aerol Patena/PNA –