LTO set to enforce Anti-Distracted Driving Act

THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Bacolod City will start to enforce Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving and the Republic Act 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015 on Monday, May 22.

This was announced by LTO-Bacolod head Renato Novero, who said that they will enforce the law and submit their accomplishment report although their office has only eight organic personnel, including himself.

He added that they will only have limited time to go out because aside from enforcement, they also perform other jobs such as inspection and evaluation.

Still, Novero warned violators that their driver’s license will be confiscated and will be released to them only after payment of the fine.

Novero also said the LTO personnel will have difficulty in implementing the law especially in tinted private vehicles because they really need to come closer to determine violation.

After the Anti-Distracted Driving Act took effect on May 18, the Children's Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015 followed on May 19.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has warned motorists from using gadgets that could distract them when driving as the law imposing penalties on this would take effect on May 18.

According to DOTr, Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving (ADD) Law would be effective 15 days after the publication of its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

"Distracted driving" is the performance by motorists of any acts on the usage of their mobile communication devices, electronic entertainment and computing gadgets or devices while vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped on a traffic light or an intersection. A motorist, as defined under this law, is a person who is driving a motor vehicle.

Such prohibited acts made while driving include but not limited to: making or receiving calls, writing, sending or reading text-based communications, playing games, watching movies, performing calculations, reading e-books, composing messages, and surfing or browsing the internet.

Motorists, however, are allowed to apply hands-free function or applications in the use of such devices or gadgets so long as these do not interfere with their line of sight.

"This new law is a preventive measure to avoid or lessen accidents and injuries from happening while promoting road safety and responsible driving among our motorists," DOTr said.

Aside from public and private vehicles, the law also covers wheeled agricultural machineries, construction equipment, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, "habal-habal", "kuligligs", wagons, carriages, and carts that may either be, human-powered or pulled by an animal, as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets.

This law takes exemption when motorists use their mobile phones in making or taking an emergency call from or to: a law enforcement agent or agency to report a crime or prohibited act, accident, natural calamity, bomb threat, terrorist activities and the like; a government or non-government medical or health care provider on emergency and rescue situations; or to a fire department in cases of fire or explosion.

DOTr said violators will be penalized with a fine of P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 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 P20,000.

Owners and operators of Public Utility Vehicles and commercial vehicles found in violation of the said Act shall both be held liable.

Moreover, Section 4 of the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015 states that it shall be unlawful for any person to drive a two-wheeled motorcycle with a child on board on public roads where there is heavy volume of vehicles, there is a high density of fast moving vehicles or where a speed limit of more than 60 kilometers per hour is imposed, unless: the child passenger can comfortably reach his or her feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle; the child’s arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle rider; and the child is wearing a standard protective helmet referred to under Republic Act 10054, otherwise known the “Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.”
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