Grab, Uber remind drivers to comply with Anti-Distracted Driving Act

MANILA, Philippines – Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) companies Grab Philippines and Uber are reminding drivers to strictly comply with the recently implemented anti-distracted driving law.

"We have distributed materials to our drivers to make sure they know what they can and cannot do based on the newly implemented (law)," Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu said in a statement Wednesday, May 17.

“We know that driving with their phones is critical for Grab drivers because it’s a main tool for their livelihood, but there are ways that we can make sure they comply with the law,” Cu added.

Both companies sent out reminders to their drivers to strictly comply with the law Wednesday, a day before Republic Act No. 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act officially took effect Thursday, May 18. (READ: What you need to know about the Anti-Distracted Driving Act

"Safety is very important to Uber. We believe the government's efforts to improve road safety complements our own efforts to practice and promote the same with our driver partners," Uber said in an e-mail correspondence with Rappler.

Drivers under TNVS companies are heavily reliant on their devices to accept trips or locate their passengers. They fear that they may not be able to use navigational apps like Waze and Google Maps.

In an interview with Rappler, Law Enforcement Service Director Francis Ray Almora of the Land Transportation Office clarified that motorists can still use these apps as long as they use hands-free function. (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?)

If the driver needs to accept a trip or look for an alternative route on the application, he needs to pull over to the side of the road.

Almora said the agency is currently in talks with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to create issuances that will guide TNVS operators.

"We are consulting with them to get their side, reach out, and come up with a common procedure that is not contrary to the law," he said.

2015 National Statistics Office report cites using cellular phones while driving as one of the top causes of road crash incidents, with a total of 1,290 reported incidents from 2012 to 2014.

The law defines "distracted driving" as using telecommunications or entertainment devices while in motion or temporarily stopped at a red traffic light.

Drivers of both public and private vehicles are not allowed to use phones to call, text, play games, or surf the internet while in motion, or temporarily stopped at a red traffic light or an intersection.

Watching movies, reading e-books, or performing calculations are also prohibited, along with other activities that will distract the driver while driving. –

Learn more about Filipinos' safety on the road by visiting the Road Safety Awareness microsite.

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.