The announcement that the Anti-distracted Driving Act will finally be enforced this week (today actually!) was met with a lot of questions from drivers, especially those that use navigation apps and other gadgets such as dash cameras. If you read our previous article on this topic or have seen the news articles in the internet, you already have an idea of the exorbitant fees that will be charged anyone caught violating the law. Quite obviously, the clamor for answers and clarifications was driven by the rather shocking fees you will have to pay if you so much as looked at your beeping phone while sitting behind the wheel.
We ran a research to find out what the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has to say about these questions. We hope the following details gathered from the internet will help clear things out and set every driver’s mind at ease.
1.On the use of navigation apps installed on smartphones.
Question: Does this mean I could no longer use navigation apps while driving?
Answer: According to the LTO, drivers are still allowed to use these smartphone-based apps provided:
- The driver sets the app BEFORE driving.
- Uses a speaker to listen to the directions instead of looking at the smartphone screen.
- Pulls over if he needs to reset his destination.
2. On the use of a mobile phone mount.
Question: Are mobile phone mounts included in the prohibitions?
Answer: No, for as long as the phone and the mount do not obstruct the driver’s view.
3. On the use of dash cameras.
Question: Should I now get rid of my dashcam?
Answer: Dashcams are allowed. Just place it behind the rearview mirror so that, again, it does not obstruct the driver’s line of sight.
4. On the use of earphones while driving.
Question: Earphones are hands-free devices, am I allowed to use this while driving?
Answer: Yes but only to make or receive calls. You should not use it to listen to music while on the road.
5. On heavily tinted cars whose drivers think they can “get away with it”.
Question: How will they know I’m using my mobile, they can’t see me!
Answer: This just in: The Department of Transportation now uses high-definition cameras that can detect light coming from devices inside heavily tinted cars. Plus, enforcers are well-trained to distinguish if a driver is distracted by merely observing the car’s movement.
The law covers public and private vehicles, including bicycles, motorcycles, motorcycle taxis, “kalesas” or any other animal-driven wagons or carts. Yes, no one is exempted, not even vehicles owned by the government. According to the LTO Chief, violators can raise their contentions during the hearing at the LTO. That simply means that enforcers will not let erring drivers slide and skedaddle without a violation ticket, no questions asked.
There you have it! If you have other questions, feel free to post it here and we’ll try our best to dig deeper and find the answers for you.
Have a safe trip!