Drivers Beware

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

A BICOL congressman has filed a bill criminalizing the use of mobile phones while driving. House Bill 3211, authored by Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya Jr., aims to alleviate the number of road accidents, his reason for pushing his legislation piece to become a law.

It’s no secret that one of the causes of road mishaps nowadays is the use of the mobile phone while driving. Some drivers either make phone calls or some conversations via short messaging service (sms) or popularly known as text.

Since we have been tagged as the texting capital of the world, this bill shouldn’t have long been in the list of laws that are national in scope and application.

We have a long list too of dead people because of mobile phone use while driving as noted by the Land Transportation Office and the police who investigate vehicular accident cases. The number is growing and it’s high time maybe that we should give teeth to our motor vehicle laws or other applicable regulations.

Some acrobatic drivers even use mobile phones while on the freeway in which their concentration should be on the road instead of on the people they are conversing with either through calls or “text”.

Driving requires focus and concentration and any distortion or distraction is like courting disaster. It’s somehow better if the driver using a mobile phone while driving will only incur damage to himself or his passengers or what is called “self-accident case”.

The mere light or backlight of a mobile phone is blinding when driving at night. Even if using a mobile phone will not actually makes one blind, the light momentarily affects vision, thus affects too his safety and that of others on the road.

It would be different on the other hand and is worse if he causes damage or even death of other motorists only because of his use of a mobile phone while driving. Poor driving may not only injure the driver but also other persons such as his passengers or people in other vehicles in cases of accidents involving two or more vehicles.

The legislative proposal entitled “Anti-Mobile Communications Devices Use While Driving Act” covers all drivers including those who drive tricycles and other motorized vehicles plying at any kind of road, be it on highways or mere service roads.

Not long ago, I saw a motorcycle-riding person “texting” while riding his motorbike. It may be due to an emergency that he was using his mobile phone while driving and riding a motorcycle, but he should have stopped at the road shoulder to have used his mobile phone. He did not only expose himself but other motorists and pedestrians too to an accident.

It only happens in the Philippines where drivers seem to do some acrobats while driving, unmindful of the dangers it entails. Well, we have great drivers in the country anyway.

The proposed bill, if it becomes a law, carries with it a penalty of P10,000 and a revocation of the driver’s license of anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving. I find the penalty still “gentle” on any violators in case the bill would be enacted into a law. We need penalties that are harsher for our hardened driver-violators.

Drivers can always stop on roadsides or at establishments such as gasoline stations to use their mobile phones. Unfortunately, there are reckless drivers who do not mind doing what they want even if it spells disaster.


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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on December 06, 2013.


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