THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Northern Mindanao said it will assist the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act which took effect on Thursday, May 18.
The law prohibits drivers from using communication devices and other electronic entertainment and computing gadgets while their vehicles are in motion or while waiting for the light to change in an intersection.
LTFRB-Northern Mindanao Regional Director Aminoden Guro said the enforcement of the new law does not only fall to the government agencies like LTO and LTFRB but even to ordinary citizens as well.
What concerned persons should do if they see any violators is to report them to authorities and, if possible, take photos of the drivers who are either texting or calling on their cellphone.
Violations also include motorists who are playing games or watching movies while driving or using their devices for other purposes.
Exempted are drivers, who are using Bluetooth or ordinary headset in making calls, or during emergency situations.
Although road-related deaths due to texting or using the mobile phone are not that rampant, the law, he said, will surely help prevent any loss of life or property in the future.
The top causes of road deaths are speeding, drunk-driving and mechanical error.
“Before the law was passed, motorists who text or call while driving were not arrested. But now that we have this law, everyone should comply,” Guro said.
He said they will also inspect public utility vehicles if they are compliant before their franchise could be renewed.
Rudy Concepcion, 52, a taxi driver for more than 10 years, said he has no problem observing the law.
For veteran motorists like him, driving without distraction has been his practice. The problem, he said, are the new drivers who tend to use their electronic gadgets while driving.
First-time violators will pay a penalty of P5,000, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 for the third offense with a three-month suspension of driver’s license. Violations committed beyond the third offense will be penalized with the revocation of driver’s license and a fine of P20,000.
The law covers both public and private vehicles, including wheeled agricultural machineries, construction equipment, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, “habal-habal” (motorcycle for hire), and other forms of transportation either human-powered or pulled by animal as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highway or streets.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 19, 2017.