Distracted driving

Distracted driving refers to the performance by a motorist of any of the following acts in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, whether diplomatic, public or private, which are hereby declared unlawful:

(a) Using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls, and other similar acts; and

(b) 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. (Sec. 4, R.A. No. 10913)

Wheeled agricultural machineries such as tractors and construction equipment such as graders, rollers, backhoes, payloaders, cranes, bulldozers, mobile concrete mixers and the like, and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, “habal-habal”, trolleys, “kuligligs”, wagons, carriages, carts, sledges, chariots or the like, whether animal or human-powered, are covered by the provisions of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets or under circumstances where public safety is under consideration. (Sec. 5(b), R.A. No. 10913)

The following are not considered distracted driving:

1. The operation of a mobile communications device if done using the aid of a hands-free function or similar device such as, but not limited to, a speaker phone, earphones and microphones or other similar devices which allow a person to make and receive calls without having to hold the mobile communications device: Provided, That the placement of the mobile communications device or the hands-free device does not interfere with the line of sight of the driver. (Sec. 5(a), R.A. No. 10913)

2. When the motor vehicle is not in motion, except those which are stopped momentarily at a red light, or are pulled over to the side of the road in compliance with a traffic regulation. (Sec. 5(b), R.A. No. 10913)

3. A motorist using a mobile phone for emergency purposes, including, but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services, agency or entity. (Sec. 6(a), R.A. No. 10913)

4. A motorist using a mobile phone while operating an emergency vehicle such as an ambulance, a fire truck, and other vehicles providing emergency assistance, in the course and scope of his or her duties. (Sec. 6(b), R.A. No. 10913)

Distracted driving is penalized as follows:

(a) A fine of five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) for the first offense;

(b) A fine of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) for the second offense;

(c) A fine of fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00) and suspension of driver’s license for three (3) months for the third offense; and

(d) A fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) and revocation of driver’s license: Provided,That the implementing agency may increase the amount of fine herein imposed once every five (5) years in the amount not exceeding ten percent (10%) of the existing rates sought to be increased which shall take effect only upon publication at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation: Provided, further, That a driver of a public utility vehicle, a school bus, a school service vehicle, a common carrier hauling volatile, flammable or toxic material, or a driver who commits an act classified herein as distracted driving within a fifty (50)-meter radius from the school premises shall be subject to a penalty of thirty thousand pesos (P30,000.00) and suspension of one’s driver’s license for three (3) months.

The foregoing penalties shall be imposed without prejudice to other liabilities under the Revised Penal Code or any special law, arising out or on occasion of the herein prohibited acts. (Sec. 7, R.A. No. 10913)