November 30, 2017 at 09:49 pm
Joel E. Zurbano
THE Metro Manila Development Authority, using its high-definition closed-circuit television cameras, has caught more than 1,800 motorists violating the Anti-Distracted Driving law.
Latest reports released by the agency’s Public Information Office showed 1,835 drivers were caught on major thoroughfares in five months.
The MMDA started implementing the law last July when 493 drivers, most of them motorcycle riders, were apprehended.
The following month, the agency caught 604 and 437 in September, while 199 in October. This month, 102 were apprehended as of Nov. 24.
Most of those caught during the first three months were drivers of motorcycle, Asian Utility Vans, public utility buses, UV Express, pick-up trucks, trucks and taxicab.
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.
At present, there are 250 CCTV cameras installed in strategic areas in Metro Manila and being used by the MMDA in its No Contact Policy in apprehending violators of traffic rules.
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.
According to the ADDA Implementing Rules and Regulations, 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.
The law also 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.
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 could be fined several times within the day if they were found to have repeatedly violated the law.
Former President Benigno Aquino III signed in 2016 Republic Act 10913 which prohibits drivers to use mobile communication devices when behind the wheel and even when stationary during traffic or using mobile gadgets while driving.
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.
MMDA records showed that there was an average of 262 crashes daily or 11 crashes per hour in the metropolis.
Last year, the agency recorded 109,322 road crashes in the metropolis but its database does not include statistics on distracted driving.
Most of these road accidents, however, also involves undisciplined riders of motorcycles.
When ADDA (Republic Act 10913) was first implemented in May, many motorcycle riders were also apprehended.
Based on the 2016 Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System program, reckless motorcycle riding remains the top cause of deaths and injuries on Metro Manila streets.
The MMRAS statistics last year stated that motorcycles had the “highest fatality accident rate” with 218 the total number of deaths, followed by trucks (103) and private cars (98).
The records further stated that 23,105 motorcycles were involved in the road accidents last year.
Motorcycles also topped the list of vehicles with the most number of injuries at 11,456 followed by cars (7,544) and public utility jeepneys (1,922).