Attention fellow drivers, the Anti-Distracted Driving Act is officially a law. This means no more writing, sending and reading text-based communication or making and receiving calls when your car is “in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light”.
The law also states that “using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations, and other similar acts” will be considered as distracted driving.
Fines are quite hefty too! Violators will be penalized as follows:
- 1st offense: Php5,000
- 2nd offense: Php10,000
- 3rd offense: Php15,000 with suspension of driver’s license for 3 months
- Final offense: Php20,000 with revocation of driver’s license
Given our dependence on our mobile phones, I’d say we’re pretty much distracted drivers. Tsktsk. Just remember, this is all for road safety. So, keep your eyes on the road, people. We’ll make Manila a better place, one missed call at a time.
To stay away from your phones here are some practical suggestions for you:
1. Keep your phone on silent mode.
When we hear our phones ring, we panic and tend lose focus. Remember, whenever you’re driving, calls and messages can wait. For urgent matters, pull over to a safe location and make a call.
2. Go hands-free.
According to the law, “it is not considered as distracted driving if you’re not holding the mobile device like when in hands-free function, using the speaker phone, earphones and microphones.”
When you really have to take a call, the key is to indirectly use your phone. A lot of cars now have an integrated Bluetooth system that allows drivers to make phone calls and play music hands-free. If your car isn’t equipped with such, investing in a Bluetooth headset won’t hurt.
3. Before you start driving, do everything you need to do that requires your phone.
Set your destination in Waze and study the routes. If you’re meeting up with your friends, message your ETA beforehand. Watch cat videos. Stalk your crush.
4. Carpool with your friends!
Your friends can help you navigate your way around city and you’ll never feel lonely driving home from a long day at work ever again! Aside from those, carpooling also helps ease traffic.
Last but not the least…
5. Prepare your own driving playlist and sing your heart out!
Whether you’re alone or with your #carpoolsquad, having an awesome driving playlist will make you look forward to hit the road despite the traffic.
Drive safe, everyone!