CITY OF SAN FERNANDO--Drivers beware of texting or using mobile devices while driving.
This, as the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) lapsed into law last July 21 after it was not signed by President Benigno Aquino III during the 30-day period before he stepped down from office last June 30. ADDA serves to help avoid accidents caused by driver distraction.
Under ADDA, it is illegal for a driver to use mobile devices like phones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets while the vehicle is in motion or while temporarily stopped at a red light, subject to a few exemptions like safely stopping where permissible and use a mobile device only while on "stop." Another exception is when a motorist is using a mobile phone for emergency purposes.
ADDA does not distinguish diplomatic, public or private vehicles.
The new law defines distracted driving as the performance by a person driving a vehicle of any of the following acts, while the vehicle is in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls, and using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations, and other similar acts.
ADDA allows instances when certain devices may be used. Using a mobile communications device is not distracted driving if done through a hands-free function, such as with a speaker phone, earphones, or similar devices, which allow a person to have calls without holding the device. However, a driver's line of sight must not be interfered with by the placement of the mobile device or hands-free equipment.
The Department of Transportation and the Land Transportation will implement the new law, together with the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Philippine National Police and other concerned agencies as enforcers.
First time and second time violators will be fined P5,000 and P10,000 respectively, while third time violators will penalized P15,000 fine and suspension of driver's license for three months, while fourth time offenders will be fined P20,000 and their licenses revoked. (JTD)