Revised rules on distracted driving out

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The Land Transportation Office (LTO) will begin apprehending violators of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act in July, following the publication of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) details of which Department of Transportation (DOTr) and LTO officials presented to media on Wednesday. In a news conference, DOTr Assistant Secretary Lea Quiambao said the IRR was promulgated pursuant to Section II of Republic Act 10913, known as An Act Defining and Penalizing Distracted Driving. It is in effect the official guideline for the implementation of the law.

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“This is to safeguard the commuters and motorists from extremely injurious effects of vehicular accidents,” Quiambao told The Manila Times, even as she pointed out the vital roles of information and communications technology in nation-building.

“The government must take note of the inimical consequences of the unrestrained use of electronic mobile devices on road safety hence its regulation,” Quiambao added.

The revised IRR defines distracted driving as “a motorist holding a mobile communications device or an electronic entertainment or computing device while driving a motor vehicle in motion, or while it temporarily stops at a traffic light or any intersection.”

DoTr, LTO, and Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) officials, however, clarified what actions are subject to apprehension and what are exempted.

“Contrary to a previous law that disallowed accessories such as toys and rosaries on dashboards, the DoTr said that the newly issued IRR will only focus on the use of communications devices while on the road.

“The coverage of the law only prohibits holding of the devices. It is permissible to place your gadgets on the dashboard as long as you are not holding it,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said.

LTO Chairman Edgar Galvante explained that if the motorist or the driver of a vehicle uses a cellular phone with the aid of a hands-free device such as, but not limited to, a speaker phone, earphones or headsets, and a microphone which allows a person to make and receive calls without having to hold the mobile communications device, the driver may not be arrested.

“The use of these hands-free devices –with mobile phones — does not interfere with the driver’s line of sight,” Galvante said.

Delgra and Galvante explained that the IRR covers all drivers and owners of public and private vehicles.

with  REICELENE JOY IGNACIO

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