Traffic laws in the Philippines are meant to ensure not just an orderly flow of traffic and discipline among motorists but also the public's safety on the road. We have laws that require wearing motorcycle helmets and seatbelts and ban people from driving when drunk and while using their phones.
The question is, do you know these traffic rules and regulations in the Philippines? You should at least know what laws are responsible for preventing accidents and keeping peace and order on the road. Check out this refresher if you think you need to review some of the road safety laws in the Philippines.
List of Traffic Laws in the Philippines You Need to Remember
Land Transportation and Traffic Code
What is RA 4136? It's arguably the most important driving law ever enacted. Republic Act (RA) 4136, also known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, lays the groundwork for all Philippine traffic laws and regulations. It also created the Land Transportation Commission in the Philippines, currently known as the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
RA 4136 mandates all motor vehicles to be registered in a national registry. It also sets the registration requirements and fees for every car owner. Aside from that, this law also requires drivers to apply for a professional or non-professional license and sets the penalty fees for failing to comply with the LTO's registration and licensing requirements.
In terms of traffic regulations, RA 4136 sets the legal speed limits for every driver to follow. Here is a list of speed limits for all vehicles in the Philippines:
|Maximum Allowable Speeds||Passengers, Cars, and Motorcycles||Motor Trucks and Buses|
|1. On open country roads, with no "blind corners" not closely bordered by habitations||80 km/hr||50 km/hr|
|2. On "through streets" or boulevards, clear of traffic, with no " blind corners," when so designated||40 km/hr||30 km/hr|
|3. On city and municipal streets, with light traffic, when not designated "through streets"||30 km/hr||30 km/hr|
|4. Through crowded streets, approaching intersections at "blind corners," passing school zones, passing other vehicles which are stationary, or for similar dangerous circumstances||20 km/hr||20 km/hr|
RA 4136 Violations and Penalties
The penalties range from ₱100 to ₱500 for RA 4136 violations, which include the following:
- Overtaking and passing a vehicle
- Right of way and signaling
- Turning at intersections
- Reckless driving
- Right of way for police and other emergency vehicles
- Tampering with vehicles
- Hitching to a vehicle
- Driving or parking on the sidewalk
- Obstruction of traffic
Read more: What are the Road Traffic Signs in the Philippines and Their Meanings?
Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016
In 2012, a bus driver was allegedly texting on his phone before he hit the railing of the Ortigas flyover, injuring seven passengers and a motorcycle rider. This is just one of the many accidents that prove just how dangerous distracted driving is.
Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016 prohibits drivers from using electronic and communication devices while their car is in motion or at a standstill at a red light. Considering the penalty of ₱5,000 for the first offense, you don't want to press your luck and find out how the penalty fee can increase from there. So just focus on the road and drive carefully.
To make it clear, RA 10913 defines an electronic device as "any handheld electronic device capable of digital information processing, recording, capturing or displaying and computing operations such as (but not limited to) laptops, computers, tablets, video game consoles, and calculators."
Meanwhile, communication devices are defined as "electronic communications equipment such as (but not limited to) cellular phones, wireless telephones, two-way radio transceivers, pagers and other similar devices capable of transmitting, receiving, or both, of encrypted data and/or signals through wireless electronic or any other similar means."
Of course, there are exceptions, such as when the device in question is used with a hands-free function. This includes Bluetooth earphones, speakers, and other accessories that allow the driver to use the device without holding it. That's why Grab drivers are allowed to use their phones, provided their screen is not blocking their view of the road.
Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016 Violations and Penalties
This law is one of the most expensive traffic laws in the Philippines because of its hefty penalty fees. Here are the fines for private vehicle violators:
- First offense: ₱5,000
- Second offense: ₱10,000
- Third offense: ₱15,000 and a three-month suspension of driver's license
- Fourth offense: ₱20,000 and revocation of license
Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013
What's worse than distracted driving? Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. For instance, a truck driver in Cagayan de Oro killed at least seven people, including three children, in a drunk driving incident in 2017.
RA 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 is one of the most serious driving laws in the Philippines. Aside from the penalty fees, driving under the influence could lead to injury and even death of all parties involved—the driver, passengers, and pedestrians.
But how can police officers determine whether a driver is under the influence? They can refer to the following indications and manifestations:
- Lane straddling
- Sudden stops
- Poor coordination
- Evident smell of alcohol on a person’s breath
- Signs of use of dangerous drugs
Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 Violations and Penalties
Suspected drivers will undergo a series of tests to determine if they're driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and other similar substances. These tests include breath analyzers, field sobriety tests, and chemical tests.
In case you're found guilty, you'll end up paying the following penalty fees:
- If the violation didn't result in physical injuries or homicide: Between ₱50,000 to ₱100,000 and a six-month prison sentence
- If the violation resulted in physical injuries: Between ₱150,000 to ₱250,000 and imprisonment
- If the violation resulted in homicide: Between ₱350,000 to ₱500,000 and imprisonment
Violating this law could also lead to suspension of your license for 18 months or even perpetual revocation. Professional drivers could get their license perpetually revoked as early as the first offense.
Seat Belts Use Act of 1999
Despite the suspension of the Child Seat Law (RA 11229) implementation since 2021, RA 8750 or the Seat Belts Use Act of 1999 is still in effect. RA 8750 makes the use of seat belts mandatory for drivers, front seat, and back seat passengers of public and private vehicles. This law prohibits infants, toddlers, and children under six years old from sitting in front.
It also requires car manufacturers to ensure that all their vehicles are equipped with the proper seat belt provisions. Seat belts should also meet the standards of the Bureau of Product Standards of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in consultation with the LTO.
Seat Belts Use Act of 1999 Violations and Penalties
Follow this traffic law to avoid the following penalty fees:
- First offense: ₱100 to ₱1,000
- Second offense: ₱200 to ₱2,000
- Third and succeeding offenses: ₱500 to ₱5,000 and one-week suspension of license
Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015
The Philippines also has a law that protects children riding on motorcycles: RA 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015. The law prohibits children from boarding two-wheeled vehicles running faster than 60 kph on public roads.
There are exceptions to this law and as long as you meet the following standards, you're good to go:
- The child can comfortably reach his/her feet on the standard foot peg of the motorcycle.
- The child’s arms can reach around and grasp the waist of the motorcycle rider.
- The child is wearing a standard protective helmet.
Nevertheless, letting your kid ride a motorcycle is never a good idea. This is one of the traffic laws in the Philippines you should always follow.
RA 10666 Violations and Penalties
Endangering your children could end up costing you the following:
- First offense: ₱3,000
- Second offense: ₱5,000
- Third offense: ₱10,000
Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009
A World Health Organization (WHO) study found that over 90% of motorcycle-related deaths involve riders or passengers not wearing helmets.
The Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 or RA 10054 requires motorbike drivers and riders to wear DTI-prescribed standard protective motorcycle helmets. According to the No Helmet Policy, a helmet should bear the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).
Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 Violations and Penalties
Breaking one of the most violated traffic laws in the Philippines will have you paying the following penalty fees:
- First offense: ₱1,500
- Second offense: ₱3,000
- Third offense: ₱5,000
- Fourth and succeeding offenses: ₱10,000 and confiscation of license
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Statistics show that 12,000 Filipinos die due to vehicular accidents every year. Now, more than ever, familiarize yourself with the traffic laws in the Philippines to keep the roads safe.
Aside from keeping driving tips in mind and knowing traffic rules and regulations in the Philippines, you should also get car insurance to add another layer of protection while driving.
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-  RA 4136 (Lawphil website)
-  Bus accident prompts call to ban texting while driving (ABS-CBN News, 2012)
-  7 dead in drunk driving crash in Cagayan de Oro (Rappler, 2017)
-  Seat Belts Use Act of 1999 (Lawphil website)
-  Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015
-  WHO PH: Over 90% of Motorcycle Deaths Didn’t Wear Helmets (Yahoo! News, 2018)
-  Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 (Lawphil website)
-  PH commits to halve road crash fatalities by 2030 (CNN Philippines, 2020)
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