Anti-Distracted Driving Act takes effect July 6

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 23) — A law to ensure that motorists keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel and off their gadgets takes effect July 6.

Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) prohibits private and public vehicle drivers from holding their electronic devices while they are driving, whether the vehicle is stopped in traffic or in motion, except in cases of an emergency.

The law only allows motorists to use their devices when they are parked in a safe place or through hands-free functions, such as microphones or earpieces.

The ADDA was initially enacted on May 19, but was suspended five days later after motorists and lawmakers called for a more thorough review of its implementing rules and regulations, due to confusing provisions, including prohibitions on placing items like rosaries or smartphone clamps on a vehicle's dashboard or windshield.

RELATED: Anti-Distracted Driving Act suspended

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) issued a reminder of the law's implementation in a Facebook post.

R.A. 10193 is aimed at preventing road crashes caused by distracted driving, which the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety is a "serious and growing threat to road safety."

Drivers talking on a cell phone are four times more likely to get into a crash, the WHO added.

Fines are steep, with first offenses charged ₱5,000; then ₱10,000 for the second offense; ₱15,000 and a 3-month driver's license suspension for the third offense; and ₱20,000 and a revocation of the driver's license for the fourth offense.

Unpaid fines will reflect on a motorist's record and will impede renewal of the driver's license.

In addition, public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers who commit an offense within 50 meters of a school will get a ₱30,000 fine and a 3-month license suspension.

Under the law, PUV owners and operators will share the fine for offenses committed by their drivers unless they can prove that they "exercised extraordinary diligence in the selection and supervision of (their) drivers in general, and the offending driver in particular."

The DOTr specified the payment centers for violations, and motorists should not pay enforcers directly:

  • Violators apprehended by Land Transportation Office (LTO) and/or the Philippine National Police — Highway Patrol Group must go to the nearest LTO office covering the area where they were apprehended.
  • Violators apprehended by local government unit enforcers must proceed to the city or municipal hall.
  • Violators apprehended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) enforcers may go to either the MMDA main office in Guadalupe, Makati City or pay through Metrobank or the Bayad Center within 7 days.

For operators of vehicles that do not require driver's licenses — such as construction equipment and agricultural machinery, as well as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, "habal-habal," "kuliglig," wagons, carriages and carts — the violator is issued a ticket and escorted to the nearest payment center to settle the fine.

If the violator does not have the money to pay the fine, the vehicle is impounded by the government.

Failure to pay the fine within six months means the Land Transportation Office can sell the impounded vehicle on behalf of the government.

CNN Philippines Correspondent JC Gotinga and Digital Producers VJ Bacungan and Yvette Morales contributed to this story.

(Story updated 2:40 p.m. of July 6 to include details of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.)