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Saturday, May 20, 2017

MMDA, Mazda, and a Lawyer Weigh in On Floating Screen Issue of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act

UPDATE 1: The Department of Transport (DoTr) will review the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the ADDA. See below. (5/20).

With the implementation of Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), motorists have been raising questions left and right about what’s allowed and what’s not. The MMDA, being one of the apprehending agencies (with a strong social media presence at that) has become a go-to source for motorists’ questions. There’s one that piqued our interest and it’s this:

The MMDA answered Eri (@thundermushroom)’s question 2 hours after it was posted. In it, the MMDA said, “Mas mainam po kung ibaba niyo po ng kaunti pa.” [It would be better if you lowered it a bit more.]

That’s going to be a big problem since the screen is fixed. Eri pointed that out as well.

We reached out to Mazda Philippines about this and is their reply (emphasis ours):
Even before the implementation of RA 10913, or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act, Mazda has already included built-in features that allow drivers to be safely connected with their smartphone, while also being entertained, on the road. 
Mazda Connect is the infotainment system available in all KODO-generation Mazda models. Its human-centered design aims to minimize visual, cognitive, and manual distraction. This advanced infotainment system allows the driver to control and manage data and select entertainment options while keeping his attention focused on the road ahead. With either its 7- or 8-inch touchscreens strategically located below the windshield line and just at the middle of the dashboard, the system was designed from the start not to interfere with the driver’s line of sight and instead enhance driving ease by positioning vital vehicle information at a slight glance. 
With safety as the top priority, the Mazda Connect touchscreen feature is disengaged once the vehicle is in motion. This is when the intuitive layout and location of the Commander Control knob and its surrounding five buttons and accompanying volume dial, as well as the steering wheel control switches, take over and allow the driver to manage the system while keeping his head up and his eyes on the road.  
Mazda Connect also lets the driver pair his mobile phone via Bluetooth for a true hands-free call experience. The system has a built-in microphone to pick up spoken voice while the car’s speakers pass audio through so the driver doesn’t have to hold his phone while listening to the caller speak. Through Voice Control and Recognition, Mazda Connect also reads out SMS text and allows the driver to reply with preset messages. Controlling the system’s functions through simple spoken words is yet another feature that demonstrates Mazda’s focus on safety while driving.
Mazda has been at the forefront of driving safety and convenience since the first Mazda Connect system was introduced in the current Mazda 3 in 2014. It is the first mainstream manufacturer to use a rotary controller paired with an in-dash screen, a feature previously found only in luxury brands. The Mazda Connect system undoubtedly leads the way to safer and more convenient driving.
Seeking additional clarification, we posted this question on our Facebook and Twitter page: “You want to know how dumb the Anti-Distracted Driving Act is? Here.” We did so posting a screen cap of Twitter conversation between the MMDA and Eri. It was only then did they respond (and this is 10 hours later) with this:

Clearly, the MMDA is either trolling all of us or shooting from the hip. This scenario presents a very vague understanding of what’s allowed and what’s not under the new Anti-Distracted Driving Act. In fact, another post asked this question:

The shot was simply taken lower, but any Subaru owner would know that the placement of the mobile phone blocks the multi-information display and clock which both aren’t in the driver’s direct line of sight.

Atty. Robby Consunji, a columnist for monthly motoring magazine Top Gear Philippines went so far to dissect the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the ADDA (a copy of which is available below).

In his public Facebook post, it reads:

Any device mounted within the driver’s line of sight is NOT punishable; it can be the basis for damages as a result of an accident, but not a violation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. The ADD IRR specifically says: -- for it to be proper hands-free use of a mobile device ... “the placement of the mobile communications device or the hands-free device does not interfere with the line of sight of the driver.” 
The installation of the mobile device within the line of sight WITHOUT using it on hands-free mode is arguably NOT punishable
There must be 2 concurring conditions: --
1) the use on hands-free mode; AND,
2) the installation within the line of sight. 
If you are apprehended, just take the ticket and inform the enforcer that you will contest the matter. File the protest at the LTO adjudication office.
In summary, IRR seems to read that the mere mounting of a device on the windshield is not punishable under the ADDA. It’s only punishable if it’s being used on hands-free phone and it’s installed within the line of sight. Oh, and “floating infotainment screens” found in vehicles such as Mazda is allowed. Of course, we’ve yet to get to the subject of heads-up displays and that could mean another problem altogether.

There’s no doubt that the recently enacted Anti-Distracted Driving Act is good. We’re all for it. But, there are obvious loopholes in the IRR drafted. The Department of Transport (DoTr) will need to sort this entire thing out or make amendments.

Here’s a copy of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act. See if you can draw your own conclusions.

UPDATE: In a report published in The Philippine STAR, the DoTr and the LTO will be reviewing the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act after it caused widespread confusion among motorists and enforcers. 

The report says that one senator, Senator Joseph Victor (JV) Ejercito, said that the new rules were practically incomprehensible. This is on top of confusing and/or conflicting statements issued by the LTO, DoTR, and the MMDA.

Additional Sources: The Philippine STAR


  1. I likewise posted a query onMDA Messenger. Below is my question that never got an answer to:

    "Thank you for clarifying the placement of the dashcam. However, in DOTr's reply to query no. 6 pertaining to mobile devices, as stated: "Gadgets with these applications may be installed in areas shown in the picture below, or other areas that will not obstruct the driver’s view." The image shows suggested location. In DOTr's answer: "or in areas that will not obstruct the driver's view." As clearly shown in the image sent to you, the mobile phone does not obstruct my view. Is this still prohibited? Because if it is, it is contradicting DOTr's statement. Please clarify. Thank you."

  2. The IRR should be just as simple as you should not be holding any mobile device or gadget while driving. If it is this simple then there will be no problems when apprehended. They way it is now it is open to a lot of interpretation by the MMDA or any apprehending officer.

  3. Amend na yan. Di pinagisipan ng maayos itong batas.

  4. Stupid Law... if you put the gadgets below the dashboard it will be more dangerous because the driver has a tendency to look down and lose his line of sight

  5. It's clear that this wasn't studied well before passing. Now there are different sources telling what is right and wrong but they all come up with different answers. You might as well keep the phone first or avoid using an external nav device such as your phone or GPS. Lucky if you have Bluetooth handsfree on your car with nav, or better yet Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

  6. This law is stupid and probably have not been researched at all.

    Hands-free mounts that are mounted on the windshield helps the driver avoid looking down on his phone and other devices, it acts like how a rearview mirror assists a person looking behind him without turning his head.

  7. Hi same with my concern. We have built in tv in the car stereo together with multi media,navigation and radio. Is this also allowed or a violation? Thank you.

  8. Implement muna daw yung batas tapos saka na pag aralan kung tama. (Lets all shoot from the hip) lol

  9. Ok ang batas. Ang mga nagiimplement ang mga boblocks sa pagintindi nito. Walang nabanggit buong windshield at dashboard sa batas, pero dinamay nila ito against sa line of sight. Yun mga eye level installation dapat ang bawal. Paatras talaga tayo.

  10. Sobrang bobo ang gumawa ng batas nito. Example air freshener bawal?nak nang..san mo e lalagay ang air freshener mo e tago mo? Simple logic lng yan..para sakin hind dsturbo pg ng lagay ka ng gadget over long na yung eye sight mo is kita lahat ang daan..Gadgets are use to help our life easier. Ang laki tulong ng GPS pero kung e lalagay ung GPS sa baba..Common sense..yuko ka ng yuko para tingnan ang GPS?ung Ang distracting...



    Sory pero ng implement nito polpol..��

  11. Siguro dapat unahin muna nila yung regulation sa tint ng windshield at front occupant windows. Kasi kahit anung batas pa yan na gawin nila about anti-distracted driving, e hindi nila makikita yung violators kung heavily tinted ang sasakyan lalo sa harapan.

  12. Ang Lakas makabobo ng batas na yan..wala nga yata silang data kung ilang percent ang naaksidente dahil sa mga bagay na nasa dash board ng isang sasakyan..pati sign sa bus ay at jeep gusto ipatanggal..pati rosary bawal na rin?eh wala pa naman ako narinig sa news na naaksidente dahil nahilo sa katitingin sa rosary sa may ilalim ng rear view mirror..ang daming problema ng Pilipinas..wag sila dyan mag concentrate..di makakatulong yan sa pag lutas ng trapik sa edsa..

  13. Simple lang un law it means huwag gumamit ng gadget

  14. "Magkakaroon po ba ng issue sa mga ganitong dashboard displays sa mga Mazda cars? Di po siya pwedeng ibaba."

    "Mas mainam po kung ibaba niyo po ng kaunti pa."

    sinabi na ngang di pwedeng ibaba lol hahaha

  15. dpat mging focus nila maintenance ng mga sskyan. certificate na every 6mos npapa change oil, brakes, etc. mali focus nila dito. lalo na mga bus and trucks, mga jeeps..haay. !

  16. Pwede ba, Yung binabayaran namin na License Plate at License Card muna ang resolbahin nyo LTO!

  17. Sabi nila 'should not obstruct line of sight'. Sino mag-e-evaluate nun? Eh di 'yung driver din?

    I wonder if those who invented this drive vehicles themselves. Para kasing basta magka-KPI lang yung dating... Sana may data man lang or study ba.

    Susunod nyan, bawal na ang windshield.

  18. Nasan na TALINO nio? Ung Utak Nasa SIKO na ata. LTO, sumagot naman kayo ng MAAYOS po. Alamin maiigi. ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES. bwiset Talaga! Sikat sa ibang bansa sa WALANG KWENTANG BATAS. RA pa more...

  19. This is on the grounds that customers don't prefer to pay once administrations have been played out that makes numerous lawyers gather their expenses ahead of time. philadelphia medical malpractice attorney

  20. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking. Virginia Protective Order Attorney

  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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