RA 10913: Anti-Distracted Driving Act Philippines

Road safety has always been a priority for the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Philippine government dares not make light of it. After all, a record of 1.3 million deaths from road traffic crashes isn’t a negligible figure. It is also a fact that driving with your gadgets on makes you four times more likely to get into a crash. If you’re texting while driving, too, then you become 23 times more susceptible to accidents on the road.

Just recently, many people are mistakenly led to believe that the “relaxed” conditions on the road means it’s okay to break a few rules. Unfortunately for them and for you, the Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) and all the other traffic laws are still very much on, so you had better keep away those gadgets and avoid crashes, accidents, traffic tickets, and hefty LTO fines. 

Anti-Distracted Driving Act philippines

What is Distracted Driving and the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) (RA 10913)

Distracted Driving refers to the motorist’s use of mobile communications devices or electronic entertainment or computing devices while in a motor vehicle in motion or temporarily stopped at a red light, whether diplomatic, public or private. Distracted driving also involves any or all activities that make motorists take that split-second glance away from the road, which is enough to put them in danger. 

Luckily, with the RA 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), the Philippines has successfully made the roads much safer for both drivers and pedestrians. The law, which requires all motorists to give their full attention to driving, prohibits distractions brought by the unrestrained use of communication and other electronic entertainment and computing devices while the vehicle is in motion or temporarily stopped at an intersection. It’s meant to help the authorities safeguard its citizenry from the ruinous and extremely injurious effects of vehicular accidents as well as all the other inimical consequences of unrestrained use of electronic mobile devices on road safety. 

Extent of coverage

Subject to the provisions of RA 10913 or ADDA, the law covers the following acts while driving both diplomatic, public, and private vehicles, while in a motor vehicle temporarily stopped at a red light, or when pulled over to the side of the road in compliance with a traffic regulation. 

  • Using a mobile communications device
  • Using an electronic entertainment or computing device

Some of the acts prohibited by the law includes:

  • Making calls
  • Receiving calls
  • Writing text-based communications
  • Sending text-based communications
  • Reading text-based communications
  • Playing games
  • Watching movies
  • Doing calculations
  • Reading e-books
  • Composing messages 
  • Surfing the internet
  • Browsing the internet

The law also covers the vehicles operated or driven in public thoroughfares, highways or streets, which includes the following:

  • Wheeled agricultural machineries such as
    • tractors 
    • construction equipment such as
      • graders
      • rollers
      • backhoes
      • payloaders
      • cranes
      • bulldozers
      • mobile concrete mixers 
  • Other forms of animal or human-powered conveyances such as
    • bicycles
    • pedicabs
    • “habal-habal”
    • trolleys
    • “kuligligs”
    • wagons
    • carriages
    • carts
    • sledges
    • Chariots 


Like any other rule, the law on anti-distracted driving has certain exemptions. 

According to the law, the operation of a mobile communications or electronic computing device is not considered to be distracted driving when:

  • Done using the aid of a hands-free function or similar device such as
    • Speaker phone
    • Earphones 
    • Microphones 
  • Make emergency calls to authorities in cases of
    • Crime
    • Accidents
    • Bomb threat
    • Terrorist threat
    • Fire 
    • Explosion
  • Take emergency calls to authorities in cases of
    • Crime
    • Accidents
    • Bomb threat
    • Terrorist threat
    • Fire 
    • Explosion 
  • Needing immediate medical attention 
  • Personal safety and security is compromised

Do note that the provisions of ADDA shall not apply or does not cover the following:

  • When motorists of motor vehicles which are not in motion. 
  • It does NOT cover other accessories which may be found on your dashboard such as rosaries, tachometers, figurines, dashboard toys, crucifix, stickers, among others. 
  • It does not cover other activities such as putting make-up on, drinking coffee, and other similar acts.


Like any other violations, violations of the ADDA entails penalties as follows:

  • First offense: a fine of five thousand pesos (Php5,000) 
  • Second offense: a fine of ten thousand pesos (Php10,000), and 
  • Third offense: a fine of fifteen thousand pesos (Php15,000), plus a three-month suspension of driver’s license
  • Beyond the third offense:  a fine of twenty thousand pesos (Php20,000), plus the revocation of driver’s license

Apprehending authority

The law is primarily implemented and carried out by the Department of Transportation – Land Transportation Office (DOTr-LTO). The LTO also has the authority to deputize members of the PNP, MMDA, and LGUs to carry out enforcement functions and duties.

Important Reminders

For your reference, here are some important things worth taking note of to avoid violation of the ADDA:

  • Using earphones to listen to music falls is also prohibited and penalized under ADDA, in addition to other penalties from relevant laws like reckless driving violations.
  • In cases when motorists need to find alternate routes while in traffic, they may navigate their phones to adjust navigation apps after pulling their vehicles aside.
  • It does NOT cover other accessories which may be found on your dashboard such as rosaries, tachometers, figurines, dashboard toys, crucifix, stickers, among others. 
  • It does not cover other activities such as putting make-up on, drinking coffee, and other similar acts.
  • Dash Cam usage is not covered by the ADDA.
  • The operation of a mobile communications device is not considered to be distracted driving if done using the aid of a hands-free function which allow a person to make and receive calls without having to hold the mobile communications device and that the mobile communications device or the hands-free device does not interfere with the line of sight of the driver.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Status Report on Road Safety, distracted driving is a serious threat to road safety because “drivers talking on a mobile phone are four times more likely to get into an accident because they are unable to stay in the proper lane and they tend to have a longer reaction time.”
  • “Texting considerably reduces driving performance and places inexperienced drivers at a great risk,” according to the WHO.
  • Though it does not snow in the Philippines, sledges, which are vehicles commonly used for conveying passengers or loads over snow or ice, are also covered by the Republic Act No. 10913.
  • The law did not define what an “emergency purpose” is, so it’s best to check with either the LTO, MMDA, or thr PNP first to be sure. 
  • Nevertheless, we are pretty sure calling the office when one is late for work does not qualify as an emergency. 

Video: Things to Remember about the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA)

Learn more about RA 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act and its provisions by watching this video posted by Manibela, a motoring magazine and automotive program by broadcast innovator, Daniel Razon:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For more information, here are some of the most common questions and answers related to the ADDA: 

1. Is it okay to use hands-free devices like microphones and earphones?

Yes. According to the provisions of ADDA, motorists can use the aid of devices with hands-free function and applications as long as these devices do not interfere with the driver’s line of sight. This means that any communication or electronic gadget should not be affixed on the car’s dashboard and steering wheel. In addition, the ADDA also says that drivers are only allowed to wear earphones when making or receiving calls. 

2. Is it okay to use traffic and navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps while driving?

Yes. Using navigation apps is okay but motorists are advised to set their preferred destination on these applications prior to their departure. The drivers are also advised to put and install these gadgets with navigational applications in areas that will not obstruct the driver’s view. 

3. How can we tell if the drivers of private vehicles with heavily-tinted windshields are violating the law against distracted driving?

The government agencies in charge of enforcing the law make use of high-definition cameras that can monitor lights from devices inside heavily-tinted vehicles. Aside from the gadgets, the law is also strictly carried out by enforcers on the ground who were well-trained to determine from the movement of the vehicle whether or not a driver is violating the anti-distracted driving.

4. Are Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) owners and operators also liable for violations made by drivers?

Yes. PUV owners and operators, as well as the owners and operators of other types of commercial vehicles are also held liable in cases of violations committed by their drivers.

5. Is it okay for a driver to use his cell phone when he is stuck in traffic?

No. A driver, regardless if the vehicle is in motion or is stuck in traffic, is not allowed to hold and use his cellphone and/or gadget to make or receive calls; write, send or read text-based communications; play games; watch movies; perform calculations; read e-books; compose messages; surf or browse the internet; or other similar acts as long as he is behind the wheel.

6. Where is the best place to mount cell phones and GPS devices?

GPS or cell phones may be placed or mounted below, at the same level, or on-top of the dashboard or on the windshield, as long as the highest point of the device is not higher than four (4) inches from the dashboard. 

7. Is the use of dashcams covered by ADDA?

No. The use of dashcams is not covered by ADDA. To date, no legislation in the Philippines exists regarding the use and regulation of the use of dashcams. However, for safety purposes, drivers are encouraged to mount their dash cams at the back of the rearview mirror.

8. Are cellphones allowed on motorcycles?

Yes, if it’s mounted. Mounting of cellphones in handlebars or other parts of motorcycles is allowed, since it does not interfere with the driver’s line of vision.

9. Does ADDA prohibit the mounting of other accessories in a vehicle’s dashboard? How about engaging in other “distracting activities”? Are these covered by the ADDA?

No. The ADDA only covers the driver’s use of mobile communications devices and other electronic entertainment gadgets while the vehicles are in motion or temporarily stopped at a traffic light or an intersection. The other accessories and activities, distracting or otherwise, are not covered by this law. 

10. What does “line of sight” mean in cars?

For drivers, the “line of sight” refers to the space occupied by the entire windshield and the top of the dashboard. It refers to the space beyond the safe zone. Within the part covering the “line of sight” gadgets and objects are prohibited by the ADDA. So this means you can put a phone mount on the instrument panel, behind the steering wheel, or at the center of the dashboard, as long as it doesn’t obstruct your view and is out of the “line of sight.”

11. What is a “safe zone”?

The safe zone in a car refers to the four-inch area from the vehicle’s dashboard. Any objects or gadgets placed within this zone are not considered part of the driver’s line of sight. However, objects and gadgets placed beyond this point are distracting and are prohibited under the Anti-Distracted Driving Act.

12. Where is the best place to put the dashboard camera inside the car?

The best place to mount your dash cam is just behind the rear view mirror. Putting it in this position ensures that the dash cam is central to the car, but doesn’t obstruct your view whilst driving. It is also the best spot to ensure that the dash cam captures the best possible view of the road ahead. It’s simple physics.


The Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) is just one of the many traffic laws implemented by the LTO. Sure, it seems the agency has been quite relaxed recently, what with the recent pandemic, but with this guide, we hope to remind everyone that the ADDA is still very much in place. Having said that, it pays to know what the law entails, along with the prohibitions, exemptions, and penalties that the violation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act entails. 

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