The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) apprehended 72 drivers on Thursday, the first day of implementation of the revised Republic Act (RA) 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA).
The revised ADDA prohibits drivers from using their mobile gadgets while driving or even at momentary stops in intersections or before traffic lights.
Violators will be penalized P5,000 for the first offense; P10,000 for the second offense; P15,000 and suspension of the driver’s license for three months for the third offense; and P20,000 and revocation of driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding offenses.
Using a hands-free phone for communication is not considered a violation, the Department of Transportation clarified.
This ADDA, however, allows objects like mobile phones in a “safe zone,” which is four inches from the dashboard.
Any point beyond that distance is considered part of the “line of sight” and placing objects there is prohibited.
Other prohibited acts are holding the device to make or receive calls; composing, sending or reading text messages; performing calculations; playing games; watching videos; and browsing the Internet.
On May 23, the implementation of ADDA was suspended after lawmakers called for its deferment.
Lawyer Victor Nuñez, MMDA liaison officer, said the ADDA is implemented through a no-contact apprehension policy using closed-circuit television (CCTV).
But he added that motorists could be flagged down by enforcers if they are caught obviously using their mobile devices and other gadgets.
Nuñez said a citation ticket for violating the ADDA issued in a certain city would not guarantee the motorist an exemption from apprehension within the day if again caught for the same violation in another city.
In the provinces, enforcers from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Land Transportation Office and the local traffic bureaus would be assigned to apprehend erring motorists.
According to Nuñez, violators can expect a notice within three days from the agency of the violation.
A final notice will be sent if the motorist fails to settle within seven days of his violation, according to Ronnie Rivera, No-Contact Apprehension Policy head.
with JOVILAND RITA