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September 11, 2019

There Are Actually 4 Bills in Congress Mandating Dash Cams

Let the grand standing begin. Top Gear Philippines ran a story where Rep. Frederick Siao is proposing mandatory dash cams to be installed in both private and public vehicles. While the aim itself is good, apparently, if you do a bit of digging, it’s not the only bill currently filed in the 18th Congress.

While Siao’s House Bill 4775 “Motor Vehicle Digital and Electronic Recording Systems for Road Safety and Security Act,” is the most comprehensive in the sort of dash cam that needs to be installed, others such as House Bill 1595 “An Act Requiring the Installation of Dashboard Cameras on Motor Vehicles” does contain heftier fines. Yet another, House Bill 3341 pertains to public utility vehicles, while a fourth, House Bill 3411 concerns government vehicles.

Let’s look at Siao’s version first. His version proposes that all vehicles (two- and four-wheeled) be outfitted with a dash cam that records at least 1080 pixels in resolution and has a night vision mode. Naturally, it must be forward facing, must have a battery, and a visual display. And according to one part of his press statement, a second but rear-facing camera with the same features as the dashboard camera. That’s the minimum.

But here’s where things get weird. Moving on, his bill mentions that for private vehicles one dash cam is alright. His Press Release reads, “…the installation of more than one dash cam inside the vehicle is optional.” Putting this inconsistency aside, he does mention that for private vehicles that frequently ferries minors, a second dash cam facing the interior becomes mandatory to record whatever transpires in the cabin.

For light commuter vehicles such as taxis, TNVSes, a THIRD camera is required, but this time facing the rear view of the passenger vehicle, while for larger vehicles such as buses and trucks, GPS becomes mandatory.

Meanwhile, for motorcycles and tricycles, there are two options put on the table: a digital video recorder placed on the driver’s helmet or a video camera mounted on the top or front side of the vehicle.

Siao’s version of the bill prohibits posting or sharing on any Social Media platform, recording for personal purposes, or sharing the video involving any passenger that doesn’t involve any incident or crime.

Okay, now let’s head over to House Bill 1595 filled by Rep. Michael Romero and Enrico Pineda.

This version is much more basic when it comes to the technical requirements, but get this there’s going to be a hefty fine for anyone caught not using a dash cam. How much? P 5,000 for the first offense and a 30-day Driver’s License suspension. It goes up to P 10,000 and a 6-month Driver’s License suspension for the second offense, and P 20,000 and a 1-year Driver’s License suspension for the third offense. Oh, and it’s worth noting that any government official that allows the registration of a vehicle not mounted with a dashcam is also subject to a P 10,000 fine and imprisonment ranging from 2-3 years.

Now, onto House Bill 3341 introduced by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy.

This one concerns public utility vehicles, including TNVSes. For this one, proposes a standardized installation requirement for dashcams with the following specs: 120-degree angle, 30 FPS recording, always on/emergency recording feature, must be hardwired or connected to 12-volt or USB (no battery-operated device), and finally 128 GB of storage.

The last one, House Bill 3411, is fairly simple and merely requires that all government vehicles be installed with dash cams.

At this point, it’s still too early to tell which version will actually get the nod from Congress. It’s likely that these House Bills will be consolidated into one before heading to the Senate. Heck, it might even be shelved altogether.

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