By Jullie Yap Daza
It was a case of overeager enforcement. Overdetailed sharing. Overcomplicated reasoning. All of which led to distracted communication.
As Senator JV Ejercito explained it, a simple law banning the use of cellphones by drivers while they are driving became an overnight sensation when the implementing agencies, LTO, LTFRB, MMDA, and HPG unanimously agreed to enforce the law although it was still premature by three to six months, depending on which spokesperson was speaking to media. The new anti-distracted driving act (ADDA) bans the use of cellphones but not navigational aids. A much older law bans the use of “accessories” and icky stuff like toy dogs with moving heads displayed on the dashboard. Are rosaries distracting? Not unless the driver is driving and praying all four mysteries at the same time.
The good news is that for once, the distracting/distracted agencies and Congress listened to reason, and suspended ADDA. After all, cellphone addicts were starting to wonder why so many tribes of public servants were suddenly so keen to keep drivers and driving safe. Was it the newness of such a distraction? The joy of catching more people in delicto? The prospect of collecting huge fines (from P5,000 to P20,000) for government?
Why the overenthusiasm now when it’s a fact that they cannot enforce the most basic laws, such as stop for a red light, don’t use the road as your garage, use your helmet when you’re riding a motorcycle but not to kill a designated target, etc. (Incidentally, in the era of daily riding-in-tandem killings, motorcycle riders were the most endangered species on the roads of Metro Manila last year, topping the fatality accident rate at 218 – not that any of the assassins needed to talk and text while they were pursuing their prey.)
How safe are our streets? How safe are we, passengers and pedestrians, from stupid drivers, reckless drivers, drivers on drugs? How does distraction by cellphone figure in the equation? Don’t wait to be distracted before you believe the research: It’s five times more unsafe than driving under the influence of alcohol. If I were you, practice driving now without that cp attached to you like a leech.