Calls mount to suspend Anti-Distracted Driving Law

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SOME senators on Monday called on the Department of Transportation (DoTr) to temporarily suspend the enforcement of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act until its officials address the confusion among motorists.

DISTRACTING? An image of Jesus Christ hangs under the rear-view mirror of a taxi cab in Manila on Monday. Motorists are up in arms over new rules banning any object on the dashboard or windshield, such as religious icons

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said transport officials seemed to lack a clear understanding of the law, which was intended to ban mobile phone use while driving.

Transport officials however have said the ban includes all objects placed on dashboards and windshields.
“Basically, it should be just about banning the use of cellphones while driving. Looks like their officials (DoTr) did not understand the essence of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act,” Ejercito said.

He said the DOTr should reconsider strict rules regarding the placement of cellphones within the line of sight of drivers, saying cellphones and other electronic gadgets, when used for navigational purposes, should be permitted to aid motorists from steering clear of heavy traffic.

“It is counter-intuitive when using Waze or other navigation apps since the use of cellphone is less dangerous if it is within the line of sight,” he explained.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd threatened to cut the budgets of transport agencies if they do not ease up on the implementation of the law, which took effect last week.

Sen. Nancy Binay, a member of the public services committee, said the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law appeared to have defeated its purpose, which was to prohibit the use of cellular phones while driving.

Officials of the DoTr, she claimed, came out with their own interpretations of the law.

Binay cited the decision to ban the hanging of rosaries and even air fresheners on the vehicle’s rear view mirror, which she said was “too much.”

“I don’t believe that rosary and air fresheners should be included in the list of prohibited items in the anti-distracted driving law, it’s too much,” Binay said.

The senator said she would file a resolution asking the Senate to review the law’s IRR to make it more acceptable and less confusing to motorists.

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4 Comments

  1. Not many heard or read about a new Anti Distracted Driving Act prohibiting understandably the use of cellphones while driving but DOTr enforcers are already saying it includes practically all objects in the windshield covering the line of sight sending confusion among motorists. The law for now looks like it is just another fodder for the kotong guys. See how seemingly DOTr was so ‘quick on the draw’ on this. We wish they are as quick in providing drivers ID cards, current year stickers and duplicate car plates. There must be enough IEC period about the IRR of the new law before enforcement for compliance among motorists. For example, enforcers must be hard upped apprehending a violator considering how quickly one could move his cellphone behind a heavily tinted car window and vehemently deny the violation. That is the reason why enforcers prematurely say it must include danggling rosaries, etc. It is not yet clear whether or not using instead a cell phone holder attached to the dashboard is allowed. What about using cell phones while on a full stop or caught in a long traffic gridlock? The list can be unending.

  2. Lintek sa tinde ng traffic sa Metro Manila pwede kana makatapos ng series sa cellphone mo tapos gusto nila bawal hawakan. Ano gagawin mo sa gitna ng kalye habang traffic? nga nga

  3. Isang malaking “OA” ang batas na yan at subject to abuse dahil kanya kanyang interpretasyon ang mga enforcer na gustong ma-ngotong! Unahin muna nila yung mga malalaking billboard at Led screens

  4. The way this law is about to be implemented is wrong. It makes no sense. The law must be poorly written if it is going to be put into effect contrary to the Congress intentions.