Group protests penalties for texting, calling while driving

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Monday, June 16, 2014


A TRANSPORT group in Negros Occidental is protesting the imposition of high penalties against drivers who are caught texting and calling while driving.

Diego Malacad, secretary general of United Negros Drivers and Operators Center (Undoc), said they are now coordinating with their allied organizations in other provinces for a simultaneous protest action.

The bill did not pass through an appropriate public hearing, he said.

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The House of Representatives had earlier approved on third and final reading a bill regulating the use of mobile phones and other computing or entertainment devices while driving under House Bill 4531 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.

Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House committee on transportation, sponsored the measure.

He said the bill was meant to “ensure the safety of the citizenry from injurious effects of vehicular accidents by regulating the use of mobile communications, entertainment and computing devices while driving.”

It defined distracted driving as consisting of “the performance by a motorist operating a mobile communications device with one or both hands or operating an electronic entertainment or computing device with one or both hands in a moving motor vehicle or a motor vehicle stopped at a red light.”

The measure also covers wheeled agricultural machinery, construction equipment and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, habal-habal and kuliglig (improvised three-wheeled motor vehicles) and animal-powered vehicles.

The first offense has a fine of P5,000 while the second, P10,000. The third offense has a penalty of P15,000 and suspension of the driver’s license for three months.

The fourth offense is fined P20,000 and revocation of the license.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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