No rule on dashcams, religious items: The revised Anti-Distracted Driving Act

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 17) — Authorities released the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) on Wednesday, three weeks after its implementation was suspended.

Transport authorities clarified the law only covers the use of electronic gadgets while behind the wheels.

READ: Gov't loosens reins on Anti-Distracted Driving Act

It does not cover other accessories which can be found on the dashboard, such as toys and religious items like rosaries or crucifix, among others.

Dashcams are also not covered by the law but drivers are encouraged to mount them at the back of the rearview mirror, for safety purposes.

READ: 'Can I use Waze, dashcams?' Your guide to the anti-distracted driving law

The ADDA, or Republic Act 10913, was intended to protect people "from the ruinous and extremely injurious effects of vehicular accidents."

It was first implemented on May 19 but was suspended five days after due to confusion among motorists.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the ADDA:

Q: What automobiles are covered?

The law covers public and private vehicles, including bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, habal-habal, kuliglig, human-powered or animal-pulled wagons, carriages and carts, other agricultural machineries, and even construction equipment, among others  - as long as they are operated in public thoroughfares, highways, or streets, or other places where public safety is under consideration.

Q: What can I not do when I'm behind the wheel?

The ADDA prohibits making and receiving calls, writing, reading, or sending text, playing games, watching movies, reading electronic books, performing calculations, and surfing the internet -- even when the driver is stuck in traffic, or stopped at a red light.

Q: Are there exemptions?

A motorist can use communication devices for emergency purposes. This includes, but is not limited to, calls to law enforcement agencies, health care providers, and the fire department.

Operators of emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire trucks, are also exempted.

Q: I own the vehicle, but I was not the one behind the wheel. Will I be liable?

The owner and/or the operator of the vehicle are both liable for the fines. There is an exception, though: when owners of public utility and commercial vehicles are able to convince authorities that he has "exercised extraordinary diligence in the selection and supervision" of the drivers.

Q: I was caught violating the law. How much are the penalties?

The penalties increases, depending on the number of offenses:

  • First offense - P5,000

  • Second offense - P10,000

  • Third offense - P15,000 and suspension of driver's license for three months

  • Fourth and succeeding offenses - P20,000 and revocation of driver's license