WHEN the Department of Transportation (DOTr) started implementing Republic Act 10193 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act last week, the focus of the discussion was mostly on the banning of the use of modern gadgets while driving, a generally acceptable proposition. Unknown to many were the other provisions of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR).
Only a few knew, for example, that the vehicle’s dashboard should be cleared of figures like images of saints and waving cat figurines, even air fresheners. Those rosaries usually hanging from rear view mirrors? They should go, too. Or that is what the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) tells us.
This, plus other provisions of the IRR that are making a law’s simple intention complicated, has senators wanting to put on hold the implementation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.
On the display of religious items, here’s what Sen. Richard Gordon said: “I think that’s OA, that’s going overboard. Anything that will bar or create dangerous situations for the car and its passengers and people in highways should be policed...but sobra na ‘yun.
“Looks like their officials did not understand the essence of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. They have made matters complicated, when it is basically just about banning the use of cellphones while driving,” Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, vice chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, said in a statement. He was referring to officials of DOTr and its attached agencies who are implementing the law.
The other concern is the rule that cell phones that display navigation apps should be placed away from the driver’s “line of sight.” Ejercito noted: “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. Every second that the driver’s eyes are on the road counts. Mas delikado pa yumuko.”
It’s good that senators are acting on the matter following numerous complaints and before the IRR becomes etched in stone. There would even be no complaint if the senators, like what Sen. Nancy Binay is suggesting, call DOTr officials to a hearing to review the IRR and have them explain.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 23, 2017.
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