Stupidity is alive and well in motoring

Atty. Jerome G. Neri

THE brilliant idea of the Anti-Distracted Driving Law. It is a good law that originally was designed to make illegal the use of cellphones with hands while driving. The idea could potentially save lives and prevent accidents. It is something that could have been a one liner law – “The use of cellphones while driving is not allowed and punishable by… (whatever penalty).”

But because many government officials are stupid, they had to complicate it, probably thinking that they will sound smart. In the end we had a law that even defined where we can and cannot put our cellphones or any other electronic gadgets in the car. The preferred choices of these dumbasses was anywhere not in the “line of sight” of the driver. “Line of sight” was then defined as the entire windshield and entire top part of the dashboard.

Even before cellphones were invented, a lot of motorists were already mounting stuff in the windshield or the dashboard, such as LTO stickers, village stickers, cup holders, religious ornaments. But of course it is mounted in such a way that there is still a full view of the road and no blind spots as motorists are not stupid like the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

What the DOTr wants is that all electronic gizmos me placed below the dashboard, including GPS navigation tools. This means that when I’m driving using a navigation tool such as Waze, I will have to mount my gadget in a place outside my peripheral vision. I cannot glance at it, I must therefore completely take my eyes of the road just to see if I am still traveling in the correct direction. What can be more distracting!

New cars now that come with navigation already have tablet like screens mounted on top of the dashboard, as after a lot of scientific studies the engineers of these car manufacturers found it as the best, safest and most practical place to mount the system. Reading the implementing rules of the DOTr, it seems like they disagree with the car manufacturer’s engineers. Now who are the smart ones and who are the stupid ones here?

By complicating the law, motorists were left in confusion. The Metro Manila Development Authority were bombarded with clarificatory questions. These clarificatory questions were met with stupid answers. So amid the confusion, Sen. JV Ejercito wrote a letter to the DOTr asking the suspension of the enforcement of the law. Now a good law is suspended, the sole reason is that the implementing agency, the DOTr is stupid.

To the DOTr, read this carefully and make this the only implementing rule to enforce the Anti Distracted Driving Act, to wit:

“It is prohibited for any person driving a motor vehicle to use his hands to operate or use anything that is not part of the vehicle while driving the vehicle.”

It is that simple.

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