Reckless driving in the Philippines puts the driver, passengers, and the public at risk. It also causes unreasonable damages to public infrastructures and private properties along with the motor vehicle being driven. Unfortunately, not every driver is careful enough and would follow traffic rules and regulations. That said, the risks caused by law violators and reckless drivers remain a real possibility on any road, both in the Philippines and in other countries.
Some reckless driving violators may not be in the right mindset when they drive and cause trouble. Some others are aware of the law but choose to deliberately ignore it for whatever reason. While not many will claim ignorance of the law, making sure that the drivers understand the consequences of reckless driving as well as the penalty associated with it in the Philippines will ensure that they stay on board with the government’s intent to keep the road safe for everyone. In this guide, you can learn everything there is about reckless driving penalty in the Philippines, along with what constitutes reckless driving, as well as the fines and penalties attached to the various traffic violations related to reckless driving.
What is reckless driving
Reckless driving in the Philippines refers to the act of operating a motor vehicle dangerously which puts at risk the safety of persons, both motorists and pedestrians. It is specifically defined under the Republic Act No. 4136 (R.A. 4136), otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, as a punishable act. The same law also defines a reckless driver as a person who operates motor vehicles without reasonable caution.
By reasonable caution, the law refers to acts that constitutes the following:
- not taking into account the traffic situation as well as the width, traffic, grades, crossing, curvatures, visibility and other conditions of the highway and the conditions of the atmosphere and weather, or
- so as to endanger the property or the safety or rights of any person, or
- so as to cause excessive or unreasonable damage to the highway.
The law’s definition of reckless driving is broad enough to cover any act which can be described as lack of “reasonable caution” in regards to surrounding circumstances. It also involves causing direct or potential harm to people, animals, and properties due to inattention.
In essence, if you are driving inattentively that you put yourself and the safety of persons, both motorists and pedestrians, at risk through the violation of traffic rules and by driving with less than the minimum skills, attention, and focus required of every driver, then you are driving recklessly and violating the traffic laws on reckless driving.
Types of reckless driving violations
Reckless driving comes in various forms. As the law only defines it as any act that causes direct or potential harm due to lack of “reasonable caution” and less than minimum driving skills, attention, and focus, reckless driving can come off in different types of violations.
Here are some of the reckless driving violations in the Philippines for your quick reference:
Overspeeding is, perhaps, one of the most disturbing types of reckless driving. It causes lots of problems, too, and it does not allow you to have a full stop at the appropriate distance from another car or property.
According to Section 35 of R.A. 4136, overspeeding is the violation of the maximum allowable speed enforced in different types of roads. When drivers exceed the legal speed limit, whether the limit number on the roadside is posted or not, this is considered overspeeding.
The speed limits are usually set according to the road’s width, flow of traffic, and whether it passes through high-risk zones.
To avoid being tagged for overspeeding, make sure to follow the proper speed prescribed by the law and described as:
- a speed that is careful and prudent, not greater or less than what is reasonable and proper considering traffic, road and other existing conditions,
- a speed that will not endanger the life, limb and property of any person, and
- a speed that will permit a driver to bring his vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
Blatant disregard for the speed limit has led to many accidents on the road. Over-speeding, especially in roads and highways where traffic is fast-moving and traffic enforcers are less able to run after violators, has in fact resulted in some stretches being tagged as “killer highways” because of the sheer number of accidents that have been recorded in them.
. . .Section 56, R.A. 4316 states, that…
If, as the result of negligence or reckless or unreasonable fast driving, any accident occurs resulting in death or injury of any person, the motor vehicle operator at fault shall, upon conviction, be punished under the provisions of the Revised Penal Code.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or “Drunk Driving”
Intoxication or drunkenness numbs a person’s senses, affecting his alertness and ability to focus. Having said that, they are in no position to operate a motor vehicle and ensure road safety at the same time. In such cases, according to R.A. 4136, the driver is already violating the traffic law on reckless driving. The moment a driver operates a motor vehicle and registers a Blood Alcohol Content level of 0.06% within one (1) hour of his apprehension or while under the influence of narcotic drugs, even without causing harm, he already exhibits a reckless driving attitude since he poses a high risk of danger to both properties and persons on the road.
. . .Section 53 of R.A. 4136 states,
No person shall drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or narcotic drugs.
Once proven to be drunk or under the influence of drugs, a person can also be held liable for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, which is a much graver offense than reckless driving.
The term “distracted driving” is a common term used to refer to inattention while driving. It is commonly used to refer to operating a motor vehicle while being inattentive on account of various activities not related to driving like:
- Answering a call
- Replying to a text message
- Listening to music
- Drinking/ eating
- Talking to somebody in the car
- Conversing with another person on the phone
- Adjusting car radios
- Using other devices
- mobile phones
- MP3 players
- GPS-enabled devices
- Getting items on the dashboard/floor
Although the term may seem a bit unpopular in the Philippines, the introduction of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act makes having distracting objects in the driver’s line of sight a traffic violation. After all, such things deviate a driver’s attention away from the road, causing him to commit acts or omissions that may endanger himself and others. It causes those who pay little attention to the situation of the road to become less active in accurately handling unexpected situations. It is also quite dangerous to engage in distracting activities while driving, especially when driving along a complicated and crowded urban road.
As one of the most common causes of accidents, distracted driving is already a violation. You may learn more about this violation by checking out the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA) Law in the Philippines. However, there are many causes of distracted driving that produce the same risk of causing accidents, so you may want to consider all these causes comprehensively to avoid getting penalized for it. Plus, in case your distraction causes serious consequences, you could be subject to not only fines and penalties, but also criminal prosecution and other legal repercussions
Reckless Driving Penalty Philippines
Reckless driving in the Philippines causes a driver to be held responsible for the damages and entails the following fines and penalties:
Fines: ₱2,000.00 To ₱10,000.0/
- 1st offense – ₱2,000.00
- 2nd offense – ₱3,000.00 and a 3-month license suspension,
- 3rd offense and beyond – ₱10,000.00 and a 6-month license suspension or revocation.
Penalties: Confiscation of License or a 3- to 6-Month License Suspension Or Revocation.
Violation of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act (ADDA)
Fines: ₱5,000.00 to ₱15,000.00
- 1st offense – ₱5,000.00
- 2nd offense – ₱10,000.00
- 3rd offense and beyond – ₱15,000.00 and a 3-month license suspension
Penalties: A 3-month suspension of driver’s license
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Alcohol
Fines: ₱ 20,000 To ₱ 500,000;
Penalties: Reclusion Temporal
Driving Under the Influence
Fines: ₱20,000.00 to ₱80,000.00
Penalties: A 3-month imprisonment
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Physical Injuries
Fines: ₱150,000.00 to ₱ 250,000.00
Penalties: The penalty should be referred to in the Revised Penal Code, Article 263.
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide
Fines: ₱350,000.00 to ₱500,000.00
Penalties: The penalty will be as stated in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code.
- Non-professional driver’s license
- First conviction: Your non-professional driver’s license will be seized and suspended for 18 months.
- Second Conviction: Your non-professional driver’s license will be permanently withdrawn.
- Professional driver’s license
- First conviction: Your professional driver’s license will be taken away and permanently suspended. You will also be banned from getting any form of driver’s license.
In addition to the fines and penalties listed above, you might want to take note of the following information as well:
- When reckless driving results in damages and injuries to persons or property, the provisions of the Revised Penal Code shall apply.
- Depending on the extent of damages caused, a person may be charged with crimes such as:
- physical injuries
- reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property
- When a person causes damages or injuries on the road, he has the duty and obligation to help the victim.
- Not helping victims resulting from reckless driving may cause the driver to be held liable for the crime of Abandonment of One’s Own Victim, punished under Article 275 of the Revised Penal Code.
- Under R.A. 4136, there is also a duty on the part of an erring driver to do the following:
- show his license and give his true name and address,
- give the true name and address of the owner of the motor vehicle, and
- render assistance to the victim
- Failure to assist one’s own victim is excused only in the following situations:
- The driver is in imminent danger of being seriously harmed by reason of the accident,
- The driver leaves to report the incident to the nearest officer of the law, or
- The driver summons a physician or nurse.
- When an ordinance against particular forms of reckless driving like drunk driving or distracted driving is being enforced in the place where the violation is committed, the offender shall likewise be held liable under it.
- Reckless drivers who have harmed or injured individuals shall be covered by the Revised Penal Code and held responsible as follows:
- Reckless imprudence resulting to damage to property penalty: 12 hours of holding period
- Reckless imprudence resulting to physical injuries: 18 hours of holding period
- Reckless imprudence resulting to homicide penalty: 36 hours of holding period
Note: After the investigation done by the police is completed, the official fine and penalty will be given under the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
For your reference, here are some important information worth taking note of:
- Reckless driving, drunk driving, and distracted driving are punishable violations of the law, regardless if they result in damages, injuries or even death or not.
- Everytime you go behind the wheel, you are expected to be responsible not only for your life but also for the lives of your passengers and countless others on the road, including pedestrians.
- Reckless driving and all its forms are violations of your responsibility to ensure safety for yourself and others in your community.
- Being a responsible driver entails observing all traffic rules and regulations, even if you see others violating them, and even if there are no traffic enforcers in sight.
- One way of honing personal discipline is to refrain from drinking and driving.
- If you are drinking, it is best to ask another person to drive your car or just take a cab.
- Staying away from the wheel when you know that you have had a few drinks can save your life and those of others.
- Drivers should always be aware of maximum speed limits, which regardless if they are posted or not.
- Speed limits are not deemed suspended when the road appears very clear or when traffic is fast-moving.
- Speed limits are imposed so that drivers will not lose control over their vehicles at all times and will be able to react quickly to any untoward incident.
- Do not engage in distracting activities while driving.
- Driving in itself already demands intense focus and split-second decision-making, especially in our roads that are often narrow and full of obstructions.
- Devoting your attention to other activities not related to driving will seriously affect your capacity to drive carefully.
- Being in the middle of heavy traffic is not an excuse to engage in distracting activities like using your mobile phones and other gadgets.
- Do not rely on accessories that supposedly make it safer for you to use your gadgets while driving, as they provide only a false sense of safety.
- If you really have to take an important call, pull over so you will not be a danger to yourself and to others.
- Take extra caution when in accident-prone areas or in “killer highways.”
- “Killer highways” refer to certain areas or roads have been the site of more accidents than others.
- Be on the lookout for drivers showing signs of recklessness, especially intoxication or inattentiveness, and immediately report them to enforcers.
- When riding a public utility vehicle, do not be afraid to speak out and remind the driver to observe traffic rules, especially on speeding.
- Be vigilant in order to protect yourself and others, and do your share in coming up with stricter laws and rules to promote road safety.
Video: Reckless Driving in the Philippines
Reckless driving can entail any of the different violations resulting from inattention while driving. It can include other driving violations too, thanks to the somewhat broad definition offered by R.A. 4136. To help you understand it better, you can try to learn more about what reckless driving is all about, along with the fines and penalties of getting caught doing so from this explainer video posted by Atty. Tony Roman (TikTok Lawyer):
Reckless driving in the Philippines is not uncommon. While it can be avoided quite easily with even just a little consideration and by following the rules and regulations imposed by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), not a lot of drivers are inclined to do so despite the dangers. Maybe it’s ignorance of the law or simple defiance and desire to live life on the edge, but reckless driving can be quite troublesome. No, we are not just talking about the penalty fees, driving license suspension or revocation, and jail time, but also the lives that might be lost or endangered due to recklessness. So, if you value yours or others’ life for even just a little bit, it’s best to know everything about the reckless driving violations and penalties as well as the different violations that constitutes reckless driving in the Philippines.