SENATORS have raised the need to review the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act that took effect on Thursday, saying that some of the provisions are confusing and could lead to abuse.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd and Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito both agreed that there is a need to look into the IRR of Republic Act (RA) 10913, particularly on the use of navigational apps that have been helpful to motorists.
According to Sotto, some provisions in the IRR are “too stiff” that they could lead to abuse or become another source of corruption.
The senators called for the immediate review of the rules on the day the Land Transportation Office (LTO) started the implementation of RA 10913 that prohibits motorists from using their mobile phones and electronic gadgets while driving.
Drivers who want to use their mobile phones and electronic gadgets must look for the nearest designated emergency bays and stop there or they will be apprehended.
Motorists caught violating that law shall pay a fine of P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, P15,000 and suspension of driver’s license for three months for the third offense and P20,000 fine and revocation of driver’s license for the fourth offense.
Motorists are also prohibited to use their phones and gadgets when caught in a traffic jam.
LTO Chief Edgar Galvante said the motorists could use navigational apps like Waze, Google map and others provided that they only rely on the audio features of the apps and not use the screen of their phone or gadget.
Electronic gadgets and phones with hands-free capability must also be placed somewhere in the vehicle’s interior that does not block the driver’s line of sight.
“It [IRR] may be too stiff. We should review it,” Sotto said.
Apart from the review, according to Ejercito, the LTO should temporarily suspend the implementation of the law until issues on the IRR are ironed out.
“I think that will be the prudent thing to do to avoid confusion. I am really confused,” he said in a text message.
While Ejercito agreed that drivers who use their mobile phones while driving should be arrested, there should be more leeway on the use of navigational apps because these are useful to drivers.
The LTO is the lead implementing agency of the act but may deputize members of the Philippine National Police, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and traffic enforcers of local government units to carry out enforcement functions and duties.