The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Wednesday reminded motorists that they can be penalized and be fined several times within the day if they are caught using cellular phones or any mobile devices while driving.
The MMDA came up with the reminder a day after a road accident involving several cars and motorcycles happened in Taguig City where one person was killed and 16 others were seriously injured.
Taguig City Police Station chief Col. Celso Rodriguez said the accident was the result of the carelessness of 30-year old Conrad Frank Toledo, a company driver, who was looking at his cellphone while driving and did not notice that he already hit other vehicles.
The incident happened in front of the Department of Science And Technology (DOST) office in Barangay Upper Bicutan around 9:50 a.m, involving 14 vehicles, including five cars, one bicycle, and eight motorcycles.
Most of the victims were rushed to the Taguig-Pateros Hospital due to head and body injuries.
The Taguig City government condemned the incident, assures the safety of motorists, and vows to pursue cases against negligent and irresponsible drivers.
Mayor Lino Edgardo Cayetano said suspect Toledo is now in police custody while charges of reckless Imprudence resulting in multiple physical injuries with multiple damage to property and homicide are being readied against him.
“Taguig government will continue to take action against irresponsible and negligent individuals, while protecting law-abiding citizens who represent what it is to be a Taguigeño,” said Cayetano.
Under Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), making or receiving calls, writing, sending or reading text-based communications, playing games, watching movies, performing calculations, reading e-books, composing messages, and surfing or browsing the internet are prohibited while driving.
Violators will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense, and P15,000 for the third offense with a three-month suspension of their driver’s license.
After the third offense, a driver will be fined P20,000 and his license will be revoked.
Owners and operators of Public Utility Vehicles and commercial vehicles found in violation of the law will both be held liable.
Authorities reminded motorists that they can be fined several times within the day if they are found to have repeatedly violated the law.
The government started implementing ADDA in 2017.
The law covers wheeled agricultural machineries, construction equipment and other forms of conveyances such as bicycles, pedicabs, trolleys, “habal-habal”, “kuligligs”, wagons, carriages and carts that may either be human-powered or pulled by an animal”•as long as the same are operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets.
This law takes exemption when motorists use their mobile phones in making or taking an emergency call from/to: a law enforcement agent/agency to report a crime or prohibited act, accident, natural calamity, bomb threat, terrorist activities and the like; a government or non-government medical or health care provider on emergency and rescue situations; or to a fire department in cases of fire or explosion.
In apprehending violators, the MMDA utilized the high-tech cameras which can monitor lights from devices inside heavily tinted cars to determine if the drivers are using their mobile phones and other electronic devices while on the road.
The MMDA is sending summons or notice to the vehicle’s owner or operator to identify the driver of the vehicle during the time the traffic violation was captured by the CCTV camera.
The notice which will be sent to the owner or operator contains the date, time, location and traffic violation. The drivers will not be able to renew the vehicle registration until the fines are settled.
The government explained that using gadgets while driving contributed to the increasing number of road accidents in Metro Manila. It was also among the causes of the slow moving of traffic on major thoroughfares.