By Anna Liza Villas-Alavaren
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) caught more than 75 drivers violating the Anti Distracted Driving Act through the “no contact apprehension policy in the first few hours of enforcement.”
Majority of the violators were motorcycle riders caught using their mobile devices while being stuck in traffic or waiting for the go-signal.
From 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Metrobase recorded 77 violations committed by drivers of motorcycles – 47; private cars – 19; public utility buses – five; trucks – seven.
Vicente Felizardo, Metrobase operations commander, said recorded violations will still be reviewed and violators will be informed through mail of their violation.
Violators will be surprised when they receive notices to be sent by the agency.
Under the no contact apprehension policy, the agency will send notices to the owners of vehicles caught on camera based on the license plate information stored in the database of the Land Transportation Office.
Summons shall specify the date, time, location, and nature of the traffic violation committed.
The motorist may contest the violation before the MMDA’s Traffic Adjudication Division (TAD) within seven days from receipt of the notice.
Violators who ignore the summons will not be able to renew the registration of their vehicles in the LTO.
Under the Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, violators will be penalized with a fine of 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 driver’s license.
On the ground, traffic enforcers of the MMDA became lenient against motorists caught using mobile devices while driving.
MMDA officer-in-charge Tim Orbos made a last-minute order to traffic enforcers not to issue traffic violation tickets to motorists violating the Anti Distracted Driving Act.
The new law prohibits drivers of both public and private vehicles to use their mobile devices and other electronic gadgets that might interfere with their driving.
The sudden decision will allow the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to conduct its public information campaign on the law and further explain the implementing rules and regulations of the law.
The MMDA also averted the possibility of causing traffic congestion that may arise from ground apprehensions.