Press Release
July 5, 2012


Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada refiled a proposed legislation which seeks to prohibit texting while driving.

Senate Bill 872, which was earlier filed during the previous 14th Congress, is a proposed act regulating the use of mobile use while driving and providing penalties thereof, in pursuit of achieving road and travel safety.

This developed as a public utility bus rammed the railing of EDSA-Ortigas flyover recently, leaving at least seven passengers injured, and many others inconvenienced by heavy traffic caused by the accident. It was reported that the bus driver was texting while driving. The bus also hit a post of the MRT-3 located beside the flyover.

In the bill's explanatory note, Sen. Estrada says that the bill aims to prevent vehicular accidents brought by driver's error, particularly on cellular phone use where drivers often neglect the importance of giving full and undivided attention on the road.

"Absence of concentration on the road can be fatal not only to the driver and their passengers, but to other drivers, pedestrian and private properties as well," Jinggoy, principal author of the bill, said.

Section 3 of the bill provides that communication with the use of mobile phones while driving all types of vehicles shall be allowed, provided that different hands-free accessories are connected therein.

However, the section does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, health care provider, fire department, or other emergency services entity.

Violation of the act shall be punishable by a fine of 3,000 pesos on first offense, a fine of 5,000 pesos on second offense and a fine of not more than 10,000 pesos and/or imprisonment of not more than one year for the third and succeeding offense.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Public Services.

On a related note, Sen. Estrada also has a pending bill before the Committees on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, and Public Services which imposes heavier penalties against persons found driving under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs.

Under Senate Bill 484, or the proposed "Drunk Driving Prevention and Punishment Act," offenders will suffer the penalty of prision correccional under the Revised Penal Code (six months to six years), or a fine ranging from P20,000 to P80,000, or both.

The driver's license of any person found to be driving under the influence shall also be confiscated and suspended for a period of six (6) months for the first conviction, and twelve (12) months for the second conviction. A conviction for the third time shall result in the revocation of the driver's license and perpetual disqualification to hold a driver's license.

Sen. Estrada cites that Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (as amended by Batas Pambansa 398), prescribes miniscule penalty of a fine not less than P1,000 or imprisonment of not more than six (6) months, for drunk drivers.

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