A Law Penalizing “Distracted” Drivers Filed In Congress

House Bill 3190, an act penalizing distracted driving has been filed in Congress by Representative Emmeline Aglipay – Villar of the DIWA (Democratic Independent Workers’ Association) Party-list. The bill, entitled “Anti-Distracted Driving Act”, which intends to discourage the use of mobile communication devices or other electronic communication equipment such as cellular phones and tablets or any other device capable of transmitting and receiving encrypted data and/or signals while operating motor vehicles, has already been consolidated with other bills with similar subject matters and has already been submitted by the Committee on Transportation to the Senate.

Under the House Committee Report, a person operating a mobile communication device or an electronic entertainment device while driving a motor vehicle will be subjected to a fine of at least P5,000.00 to P30,000.00 and/or the suspension or revocation of his driver’s license. This means that the proposed bill not only discourages “text/call-driving,” it also penalizes other forms of operation of mobile communication device or electronic equipment, like browsing through photos, watching video clips or playing electronic games. However, a person operating a motor vehicle may still make or receive phone calls but only after pulling over to the side of the road and away from moving traffic. The penalty, therefore, still applies even if one is momentarily stopped at a red light or while in compliance with any other traffic regulation. “As we are bombarded with sophisticated gadgets in this technologically advanced age, we must all make sure that we are in control of our gadgets, not the other way around,” said Diwa Party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay – Villar, the bill’s principal author.

Also the Vice-Chairperson of the House of Representatives’ Transportation Committee, Rep. Aglipay – Villar explained that giving in to the temptation of using our communication gadgets is more likely to happen in our country especially considering the fact that the Philippines, labeled as the “texting capital of the world,” is the fastest growing market for smartphones in Southeast Asia.