MANILA (Updated) -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) ordered Tuesday to halt the implementation of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.
The decision was reached after some senators called for the temporary suspension of the new law due to some confusion on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
"To respond to the call of both Houses of Congress to defer the implementation of ADDA, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) take heed to the Congress, being the authors of the law, to defer the enforcement of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA)," Transportation Undersecretary Cesar Chavez said in a statement.
No definite date has been set for the reimplementation of the ADDA that prohibits motorists from using mobile devices and electronic gadgets.
In relation to this, he said the DOTr would immediately revive its Technical Working Group to conduct a review of the IRR in coordination with concerned stakeholders.
"An Information and Education Campaign (IEC) shall commence as soon as the new IRR is crafted," he said.
In the meantime, Chavez urged the public to continue the constructive discussion on the new law "so as to contribute on how we could all better promote road safety, discipline, and responsible driving."
Under the IRR, even rosaries and other religious icons which could distract the sight of the driver were also prohibited on the dashboard of the vehicles.
But the lawmakers who crafted the law have said the main intention of the ADDA was to prevent the use of electronic gadgets while driving to avoid any untoward incident.
RA 10913 prohibits motorists from making or receiving calls, writing, sending or reading text-based communications, playing online games, watching movies, surfing or browsing the Internet, among others, while vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped on a traffic light or an intersection.
Drivers are allowed to apply hands-free functions or applications in using such devices or gadgets, so long as these do not obstruct their line of sight.
Violators will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 for the third offense with a three-month suspension of driver’s license.
Violations incurred beyond the third offense shall be penalized with the revocation of the driver’s license and a fine of P20,000.
Owners and operators of public utility vehicles and commercial vehicles found in violation of the act shall both be held liable. (SDR/PNA/SunStar Philippines)