APRIL 23, 2013

NR # 3082

House members seek enactment of law banning use of mobile phones while driving
Lawmakers today expressed hope that members of the incoming 16th Congress would prioritize the enactment into law of a proposal regulating the use of hand-held mobile communication device while driving, providing appropriate penalties on violations. Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac) said House Bill 4571 -- of which she is one of the authors -- was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on May 31, 2011 and remains pending in the Senate. “While cellular phones have become an integral part of both business and personal lives, the alarming figures on cell phone-related accidents transform this technological gadget into a dangerous device,” Yap said. Yap said in a study conducted by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) in May 2007, one of the causes of traffic accidents for the period 2001 and 2006 was using cellular phones while driving, which ranked 12 with 14 cases registered in 2001 and with 91 cases registered in 2006. “The danger is not only to the lives and limbs of the general driving public but also to the innocent pedestrians,” Yap said. Yap added that since the necessity of using mobile phones does not prevail over the need to ensure road safety, the bill promotes hands free devices so that drivers may not be distracted while driving. Rep. Romeo Acop (2nd District, Antipolo City), another author of the measure, said multitasking behind the wheel, a situation where the driver is simultaneously doing another thing or act while driving, is a dangerous predicament not only to the driver and his passengers but to the general public who may be riding in other vehicles or simply walking along the road. “Distracted driving, or using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving, particularly texting and reading messages, effectively removes the visual focus of the driver from the road and diminishes his degree of concentration on the safety of his driving,” Acop said. Under the measure to be known as the “Anti-Mobile Communication Devices Use while Driving Act of 2011,” the use of mobile communications devices while driving a motor vehicle is regulated and penalties are imposed for violation thereof in order to promote road safety. Violators will be slapped with a P10,000 fine and revocation of their driver’s license. (30)

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