Since the beginning of 2021, law enforcement authorities have been keeping our roads safe by apprehending hundreds of motorists, including motorcycle riders, who have violated traffic laws.
That's certainly good to hear. In fact, as motorcycle riders ourselves, we’re in full support of these initiatives. After all, there are indeed a lot of pasaway motorcycle riders and other motorists on the road.
Unfortunately, some of these operations also wrongfully apprehend some motorists, who are still within the boundaries of the law.
A persistent example is when it comes to auxiliary lights. According to the apprehending officer(s), putting an auxiliary light or lights on a motorcycle or vehicle violates Presidential Decree 96, commonly known as PD 96, which was signed by then-president, Ferdinand Marcos. Or does it?
To clear any confusion, we've combed through the recent memorandums from the LTO to determine the status and legality of many of these modifications.
Auxiliary lights and horns
Easily one of the most frequently cited memos when it comes to modifications is Presidential Decree (PD) 96. Yet what exactly does it say?
PD 96 declares that it is unlawful to use sirens, bells, horns or whistles, that emit an exceptionally loud or startling sound. This includes dome lights (like the ones used by police patrol cars in the past), or any flashing lights, which are similar to those used by police patrol cars and other emergency vehicles.
PD 96 also prescribes exceptions, especially if officially used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Land Transportation Commission (now LTO), Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.
In March 15, 2016, the Land Transportation Office published a memorandum titled: Rules and Regulations Concerning Motorcycle Lights. This memo, basically says that auxiliary lights on motorcycles are perfectly legal, provided that they follow these guidelines.
In short, they have to be of a certain size, number and brightness, mounted in a certain way. They cannot be used on brightly lit roads. Lights mounted OVER the handlebars are not allowed.
A lot of apprehending officers cite PD 96 when confiscating accessories. As long as your accessories (like lights and horns) adhere to these guidelines, they should not be confiscated or subject to the provisions of PD 96.
Aftermarket exhaust pipes
Another point of contention on the street-level apprehension are aftermarket exhaust pipes. Just to be clear, we’re also against the use of these aftermarket pipes IF they are louder than the limit set by the LTO. That sound limit has been, for the longest time, set at 115dB. Now, with the new MIVS, the limit is set at 99dB.
LTO Administrative Order ACL-2009-018 clarifies that a sound level meter should be used to determine how loud it is, and has set the guidelines on how to properly conduct measurement.
It doesn’t matter if your vehicle or motorcycle has stock or aftermarket exhaust, as long as the sound level is within the set boundaries, it should not be subject to apprehension, let alone confiscation.
While certain modifications on vehicles and motorcycles are prohibited, there are many kinds of modifications that are perfectly legal.
There were two documents issued by the LTO back in 2008 explaining these rules. These are Administrative Order AHS 2008-015 and AHS 2008-01. To put it simply, AHS 2008-01 suspends the requirement of prior LTO and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approval for any motorcycle modification (Section 8, paragraph 3 and Section 11 of Administrative Order AHS 2008-015).
Additionally, AHS 2008-01 specifically says that horns, brakes, side mirrors, the headlight, are NOT to be considered as accessories for motorcycles, but as BASIC and VITAL parts of a motorcycle.
It might be a good idea to keep a copy of these memos on your motorcycle for when you're called to pull over at a checkpoint. While you may show these documents to the apprehending officer(s), always maintain courtesy and respect the officers.
If they insist, get the ticket and tell them politely that the ticket will be up for contest. The LTO or the Local Government Unit (LGU), will have a proper Adjudication Department to contest such wrongful apprehensions.
Source: Motorcycle Rights Organization