Senate panel to review IRR of anti-distracted driving law

On its first day of implementation, 127 motorists were apprehended.

The Senate Committee on Public Services is scheduled to review the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the anti-distracted driving law to resolve several issues raised by motorists particularly on what items are prohibited while driving.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Public Services committee, said the public hearing on May 30 aims to address confusions in the implementation of Republic Act No. 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act that prohibits distracted driving by penalizing the use of communication devices and other electronic entertainment and computing gadgets while driving on roads.

To address confusions, Poe also said the Transportation department may revise the implementing rules and regulations.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Monday called on the Senate public services committee to "exercise its oversight functions" in reviewing the law's enforcement, saying the implementing agencies may have crossed the line as the original intent of the law was to prohibit the use of electronic gadgets while driving. Sotto's speech was referred to Poe's committee. Several senators also called for the suspension of its implementation.

The now controversial law lapsed on July 21, 2016 and its IRR were released on just last April 4. The full enforcement of the law took effect last May 18.

Under RA 10913, prohibited acts while driving include using a mobile communications device to write, send or read a text-based communication, or to make or receive calls and using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculation and other similar acts.
Violators will be penalized with a fine of 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 driver's license and a fine of P20,000.

Under Section 7 of the law, a nationwide public information campaign shall be conducted by the Transportation department, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Education, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police and private agencies for six months from the effectivity of the law.
On its first day of implementation, 127 motorists were apprehended.