Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Senate Bill 3211, or the proposed Anti-Distracted Driving Act, is primarily aimed at going after drivers who use their mobile phones while driving.

See - Senate approves 5 bills
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A bill seeking to prohibit distracted driving and four other bills have been approved on third and final reading at the Senate in what could be its last plenary session for the 16th Congress.

The Senate held a plenary session to approve the five remaining bills just before Congress reconvened as the National Board of Canvassers yesterday.

Senate Bill 3211, or the proposed Anti-Distracted Driving Act, is primarily aimed at going after drivers who use their mobile phones while driving.
Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, who sponsored the bill, said it would hopefully safeguard the public from the “ruinous and extremely injurious effects of vehicular accidents.”

“While the state recognizes the vital roles of information and communications technology in nation-building, the state also takes cognizance of the inimical consequences of the unrestrained use of electronic mobile devices on road safety as to cause its regulation,” he said.

Distracted driving would refer to any of the following acts while driving a vehicle in motion or stopped in red light: using a mobile communications to write, send or read a text-based communication or to make or receive calls and using an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the Internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations and other similar acts.

A fine of P5,000 would be imposed on motorists for the first offense, P10,000 for the second offense and P15,000 and a three-month suspension of the driver’s license for the third offense.

The law would not cover motorists using mobile phones for emergencies, including calls to a law enforcement agency, healthcare provider, fire department or other emergency services, agency or entity or those using mobile phones while operating vehicles providing emergency assistance, such as ambulances or fire trucks.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, principal author of the bill, saw a need to curb the escalating statistics on vehicular accidents brought about by driver’s error, particularly on cellular phone use where drivers often neglect the importance of full and undivided attention while driving their vehicles.

The Senate also approved Senate Bill 2948, which seeks to establish a national vision screening program.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, the sponsor of the bill, emphasized the need for a centralized and organized program for vision screening tests for schoolchildren nationwide, with the help of the Department of Health, the Department of Education and other institutions.

The NVSP would provide attention to kindergarten pupils found to be visually impaired, so that they could be checked and treated by eye care practitioners.

“It is important that vision screening tests be conducted at an early stage, precisely to prevent complications in the future,” Cayetano said.

Two other bills on education and healthcare, House Bills 4366 and 5746, were also approved by the Senate yesterday.

House Bill 4366 would establish the Science and Technology High School in Barangay San Jose, Antipolo City, Rizal, while House Bill 5746 would convert the old Mayor Hilarion Ramiro Sr. Regional Training and Teaching Hospital in Misamis Occidental, into the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro Medical Center.

The fifth, House Bill 6080, would amend Presidential Decree 269 as amended by Republic Act 10531, or the National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013, to modify the qualifications for and create a screening committee in the election or appointment of directors and officers of electric cooperatives.

– Marvin Sy

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