REPUBLIC Act 10913 is also called the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. So when officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) made noise about the new law, they also made this phrase popular: “distracted driving,” short for driving while distracted.
Drivers have long been faced with distractions on the road, but it is only in recent times when the distractions have so become numerous these got the attention of lawmakers. Blame that on modern technology that has allowed people to communicate with those outside the confines of the vehicle and get entertained even while cruising.
It is not surprising then that the law focuses more on modern gadgets like cell phones, tablets or laptops that distract drivers when not used properly, or while driving or waiting for the traffic light to go green or while on temporary stop at an intersection. The acts include sending or receiving text messages, making or taking a call, reading e-books, surfing the internet or playing games.
The intention of the law is good considering the number of accidents whose causes are attributed to distracted driving. We take it that the LTFRB and LTO are currently aggressive in educating drivers and flushing out violators. Unfortunately, this could be short-term like what happens when new laws are being implemented. We get reminded of distracted driving only when accidents happen.
Only several days after “distracted driving” became a by-word, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order for a ban on smoking in all public places of the country. Executive Order 26 pushes for strict implementation of guidelines on designated smoking areas. More than that, smoking is banned altogether in such places as schools and recreational facilities for minors.
Again, this is a good EO, copied apparently from the Davao experience. But the problem once more is the implementation. Expect the initial aggressiveness and then its waning.
In the end, it is up to the people to make these laws and regulations matter. After all, these were conceived with their interest in mind.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 20, 2017.
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