RA 10913, or the Anti-Distracted Driving law will now be enforced starting this Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Under the new law, vehicle drivers are not allowed to use mobile communication devices when operating the vehicle. This includes operating motorcycles. The of act of writing, reading, sending a text-based message, making phone calls, or watching movies, surfing the internet, reading an e-book or performing any sort of computation on a mobile device by a motorist is banned, even when stationary during traffic, or at stop lights.

Section 3 (e) of RA 10913 defines a mobile communication device as a mobile phone, two-way radio, or “similar devices capable of transmitting, receiving, or both, of encypted data and/or signals by means of wireless electronic or similar means”. The law also states that the mounting of the mobile communication device should not obstruct the driver's line of sight.

Besides cars and motorcycles, RA 10913 also covers trucks, PUVs, school buses, cargo haulers carrying hazardous or flammable materials, cyclists, pedicabs, 'kuligligs' and animal or human-powered vehicles to name a few.

On the other hand, motorists can use mobile devices as long as it is done through hands-free means. Some of these examples include the use of the speaker phone function, earphones, microphones and Bluetooth devices. As per the DOTr, using a mobile device while pulled over is legal. Two more exemptions to the rule are for emergency purposes and for the operators of emergency vehicles.

RA 10913 also lists fines for violations: the first offense has a fine of Php 5,000; Php 10,000 for the second offense; and Php 15,000 for the third offense, including suspension of the driver’s license for three months; and finally, Php 20,000 for the fourth offense including revocation of the driver’s license.

There are heavier penalties that will be imposed for Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) drivers, drivers of school service vehicles or drivers of a common carrier of flammable or toxic materials. Those caught in violation of the bill within a 50-meter radius of a school will be fined Php 30,000 and driver’s license suspension for three months.