LTO: cellphones, gadgets use
is "reckless driving" violation
TAGBILARAN CITY, June 5, (PIA)--The implementation of the law on anti distracted driving may be suspended as yet, but Land Transportation Office (LTO) insists, the use of mobile phones and similar gadgets while on the steering wheel is still illegal.
LTO information officer Florencio Balazuela said the use of cellphones while driving is still a form of reckless driving, and is punishable under Republic Act 4136.
RA 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code of the Philippines defines the policies in the operation of land transportation and the conduct of vehicles and their drivers while on any public and private roads in the country.
In a public advisory, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has defined reckless driving as over-speeding, drunk driving and distracted driving.
The law defines reckless driving as “the act of operating a motor vehicle without reasonable caution considering the width, traffic, grades, crossing, curvatures, visibility and other conditions of the highway and the conditions of the atmosphere and weather, or so as to endanger the property or the safety or rights of any person, or so as to cause excessive or unreasonable damage to the highway.”
Over this, the DOJ rule that "every time a person operates a motor vehicle in violation of traffic rules, at the risk of harming others and with less than the full attention, focus and skill required of every driver, he is driving recklessly."
Lastly, distracted driving is “the act of operating a motor vehicle while, at the same time, focusing one’s attention on other activities not related to driving,” including using mobile phones.
To avoid such offenses, the DOJ advised motorists not to engage in distracting activities while driving, being careful when driving through accident-prone areas, and being vigilant.
Explaining the essence of the law during the weekly Kapihan sa PIA, Balazuela however clarified that in the suspension of the Anti Distracted Driving Act, or RA 10913, the LTO would be stricter on the usage of mobile phones and gadgets while the vehicle is in motion.
What we would do is we flag them down, and issue a Temporary Operator's Permit (TOP) noting reckless driving as violation.
As the new law on distracted driving is still shelved, Balazuela hinted that the LTO may be lenient on the use of gadgets while the vehicle is on standstill.
Violations against reckless driving, including distracted driving, according to RA 4136, is punishable with a fine of P2,000, LTO said.
The suspended law however states that those found to be distracted while driving would be fined P5,000 for the first offense, plus confiscation of license, Balazuela affirmed.
By the second offense, a driver could be fined P10,000 while for the third offense, a driver could be fined P15,000 and as a habitual offender, the LTO reserves the right to suspend the license or a full revocation of the diver's privileges.
Distracted driving law may be suspended as yet but the LTO said using cell phones and computing gadget, even during a traffic stop can be a proof of reckless driving and is a reason for authorities to flag down the vehicle and confiscate the driver's license in lieu of a Temporary Operators Permit. (PIABohol)