Smart Communications issued a statement reminding its motor vehicle drivers of the penalties if they are caught using mobile phones or engaged in distracting activities while driving.
The recent enforcement of the new law, Anti Distracted Driving Act (Republic Act No. 10914) defines distracted driving as engaging in certain actions while in motion and even when the vehicle is temporarily stopped at a red light.
According to the law, distracted driving actions include the following:
- Sending or reading messages on a mobile device
- Making or receiving calls
- Playing electronic games
- Watching movies
- Surfing the internet
- Reading e-books
- Performing calculations
Not covered by the law are people who are:
- Using mobile phones for emergencies, including calls to a law enforcement agency, healthcare provider, fire department, or other emergency services, agency or entity
- Using mobile phones while operating vehicles providing emergency assistance such as ambulances and fire trucks.
Otherwise, the use of a mobile device while driving is allowed only when the driver uses hands-free tools such as a speaker phone and earphones.
Violators will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, and P10,000 for the second. Third-time violators will be slapped with a P15,000 fine and three-month suspension of their driver’s license. Fourth-time violators will be fined P20,000 and will have their driver’s license revoked.
In the US, more than 3,000 people were killed in 2014 and 431,000 were injured in vehicular crashes involving distracted drivers.
A study by a US-based research group also shows that people who text while driving take their eyes off the road for about 5 seconds per SMS. At 90 kilometers per hour, this is equivalent to driving the length of seven basketball courts while blindfolded.
“Smart enjoins everyone to use their mobile devices responsibly – not only for their own safety, but for the safety of their passengers and other motorists as well,” Smart statement said.