Windscreen Gadgets Banned in the Philippines
If you have taken an Uber ride or gotten into a Grab Car recently, then you would have noticed the number of electronic devices festooning the windscreen of the vehicle, particularly smartphones which are used in part as GPS devices, but also as the meter. No longer will this be the case in the Philippines, where all mobile devices that are directly in the line of sight of the driver, leading to distraction, were banned as of May 18th, when the Anti-distracted Driving Law took effect. Offenders will face fines of up to (c.) US$400 and the potential losing of their license for a year.
The law is not directly targeting ride-sharing drivers, such as Uber or Grab, as any hands-free device in any car will be in violation of the law, as long as it is in line of sight of the driver and the road. Assumedly, having the device down on your knee is okay, and thus the Philippine road authorities have decided that looking completely away from the road is okay, but glancing away is not.
The law encompasses drivers who text or call whilst driving, and tickets will be issued even if you are stopped at a red traffic light, according to a spokesperson from the Metro Manila District Authority (MMDA). It also includes all types of transport, including skateboard users, cyclists, motorised wheelchairs and horse-drawn carriages (not kidding here); although, if you are reporting an accident or some other emergency situation, then you are exempted.
The MMDA has summoned local traffic enforcement personnel to train them on how to enforce the law. Sounds to us like they are after a bunch of Inspector Gadgets.