Anti-Texting while Driving bill passed final reading

After the passage of House Bill No. 4571 on third and last reading in the lower house, Rep. Susan Yap from the second district of Tarlac, lauded her esteemed colleagues for the early passage of the bill, just a week before the sine die adjournment of the First Regular Session of the 15th Congress.

HB 4571 is the substitute bill for Rep. Yap-Sulit's House Bill No. 318 on the regulation of the use of cell phones while driving. It imposes stiffer penalties against motorists who are caught using cellular phones while driving.

According to Rep. Yap, the proposed law would criminalize the dangerous habit of using cellular phone while driving. Under the bill, drivers could be pulled over by traffic policemen if caught talking or texting while driving, Yap added.

"While cellular phones have become an integral part of both business and personal lives, the alarming figures on cell phone-related accidents has transformed this technological gadget into a dangerous device," she said.

"The danger is not only to the lives and limbs of the general driving public but also to the innocent pedestrians," added Yap.

With this positive development in the lower house, Rep. Yap-Sulit now gears her appeal to the Senate to hasten the approval of the Senate counterpart bills authored by Senator Jinggoy Estrada (SB 872) and Senator Manny Villar (SB 1315).

The lady solon is quite optimistic that the measure, which has been pending in the past Congresses, will finally become a law this 15th Congress.

According to Yap, "since the necessity of using mobile phones does not prevail over the need to ensure road safety, this bill proposes to regulate the use of mobile phones while driving through promoting hands free devices so that drivers may not be distracted while driving."

"More importantly, the proposed law will promote the responsible use of cellular phones while driving and driver awareness to the dangers of road traffic. This bill would be particularly important in a country like the Philippines where a single traffic accident can be peculiarly costly- one accident could potentially cause heavy traffic congestion that results from great delays in the investigation and rescue processes", Yap concluded.

Other bills consolidated under HB 4571 include House Bill Nos. 788, 986, 1277, 2136 and 3445 authored by Reps. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (3rd District, Pampanga), Augusto Syjuco (2nd District, Iloilo), Irwin C. Tieng (Party-list BUHAY) and Ma. Theresa Bonoan-David (4th District, Manila).