On May 18, 2017, a much needed law will be enforced. RA 10913 or the Anti Distracted Driving Act seeks to minimize accidents arising from the use of electronic devices while in the operation of motor or animal/people-powered vehicles. How often have you seen road mishaps like this:
Things the Motoring Public Must Know of RA10913 or the Anti Distracted Driving Act
What is the scope of RA 10913?
- RA 10913, or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, bars anyone driving a motor vehicle (including wheelchairs and kalesas) from using their phone, radio, and other electronic gadgets while on the road, either moving or stopped at a traffic light or intersection. Hence calls, sms, playing Candy Crush, watching koreanovelas, computing your tax, reading Tolstoy, informing your boss you’re late, and surfing the internet can get you in trouble.
What motorized vehicles are within scope of RA 10913
- RA10913 casts a net upon ALL public and private vehicles, wheeled agricultural machines (tractors, loaders, etc.), construction equipment, and other vehicles such as bikes, pedicabs, trolleys, habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire), kuliglig (tricycle-for-hire), wagons, carriages, and carts that may be human- or animal-powered. Conclusively, any human-powered or animal powered mode of conveyance necessitates that you set your electronic device under penalty of law.
Are there exemptions to the Anti Distracted Driving Coverage?
- Indeed so, yes. You can use your phones while driving to make or take emergency calls to authorities in cases of a crime, accidents, bomb or terrorist threat, fire or explosion, instances needing immediate medical attention, or when personal safety and security is compromised. Hence unless there’s a life or death situation keep that phone holstered
- Understand that the law applies only on public roads. Hence you can text as much as you want if you’re on a private subdivision road, on your palatial driveway or on the sweeping grounds of your grandfather’s farm lands. Any damage incurred running into your carabaos will naturally be your responsibility. You can also be cited for reckless imprudence arising to damage or death.
What if you want to use your phone for navigation
- Hands-free is your key. Earphones or the bluetooth car connection is permitted. If you’re a Grab afficionado, or someone who relies on things like Waze or Google Maps, just make sure you set your start and end points before you start driving.
What are the proper placements for the dashcam phone or navigation device to be in compliance with the law?
You can activate the hands-free function of your devices as long as there is no interference with the driver’s line of sight. This means that no communication or electronic gadget should be affixed on the car’s dashboard, windshield and steering wheel. Dashcams may be placed above the dashboard or behind the rear view mirror as long as it does not obstruct the driver’s line of sight. Phone mounts may be placed on the instrument cluster but not on the dashboard. The rule of thumb is there should be nothing between you and the windshield, with the exception of beneath the rearview mirror. Keep this handy infographic handy:
What if an Erring Policeman is Trying to To Harrass You
As long as your vehicle is stopped and you’ve been pulled to the side of the road, you have the right to record the acts of public officials. Years ago an MMDA official claimed that the phone recording the acts of erring policemen violates the Wire Tapping law. By no stretch of the imagination does the wire tapping law forbid the recording of public acts of an official, much less when in video format. It is your civic duty to report such officials with duly gathered evidence.