Road Traffic Rules and Regulations in the Philippines

19 November 2022
Road Traffic Rules and Regulations in the Philippines

Do you have the skills and capabilities to drive on Philippine roads? They say that when you can navigate the traffic, avoid potholes and broken areas, breeze the narrowest of corners, and even expertly navigate the streets during rain, is when you can only say you're an expert driver in the Philippines.


But did you know that to keep your driver's license, you must familiarize yourself with the basic traffic laws? Before you unleash your Fast-and-Furious driving skills, you need to follow traffic signs and remember that there are traffic laws in the Philippines. Don't worry, Lumina Homes compiled them so if you're a student driver, you have an overview, and if you're a veteran driver, you have a refresher.



Governing Authorities for Philippine Traffic Laws

Before you can drive on major roads, you must recognize and follow the laws of the Philippines. For those who have attended driving schools, or have renewed their license, you may know that there are two principal government agencies in the country that are responsible for the proper use of a Philippines driving license. They are the:


Land Transportation Office (also called the Land Transportation Commission) (LTO)

an agency under the Department of Transportation, the office is responsible for the registration and inspection of motor vehicles, issuance of driver's licenses and student permits, the implementation of rules and regulations related to land transportation, and adjudication of traffic cases.


Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)

Because Metro Manila is one of the busiest areas in the country, especially in terms of traffic, this agency helps implement traffic laws that rule metro-wide applications. A traffic enforcer from the MMDA can typically be seen in the areas of Manila, the cities of Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Pasig, Pasay, Parañaque, San Juan, Taguig, Valenzuela, and the municipality of Pateros.



Registration Classification of a Philippine Driver's License

But before you get to drive a motor vehicle, you must either possess at least one of the following required official documents.


Student Driver's permit

If you're a newbie driver, here's a basic requirement. You must apply for a student permit. It entails attending classes from an accredited driving school and passing both theoretical and practical exams before you can operate motor vehicles. Here's where you can also get a lecture about warning signs, and discuss traffic laws you're about to read later.


Non-professional driver's license

If you have a non-professional license, congratulations! Now you're a licensed driver who can start navigating privately owned motor vehicles in municipal streets, and public highways and endure heavy traffic. Remember, when you're a non-professional driver, you can only drive private vehicles.


Professional driver's license

However, if you are to drive public utility vehicles, motor trucks, articulated vehicles, and any special motor vehicle, you must have a professional driver's license. This is because it is expected for professional drivers to have a better grasp of the traffic rules and regulations, as well as avoid traffic violations as per Philippine driving laws.



6 Driving Laws in the Philippines Every Driver Should Know

Whether you're a new driver or a veteran on the road, here is the list of traffic laws every driver and even passengers should be informed about and practice whenever they are on the road.

1. RA 4136: The Land Transportation and Traffic Code

This republic act encompasses the basis of all the driving laws in the Philippines. It is also the law responsible for the creation of the Land Transportation Office. Under the law, all Filipino drivers have been mandated to register all motor vehicles in the National Registry.


Under the law, there are assigned legal speed limits for every driver to follow. Should there be a failure to comply, there are also corresponding penalty fees, ranging from Php 100 to Php 500, to pay. All vehicles have to observe the following speed limit on these areas:


  1. Open country roads without blind corners and not closely bordered by all forms of house and lot in the Philippines - 80 km/hr for passengers, cars, and motorcycles, then for motor trucks and buses, 50 km/hr.
  2. On city and municipal streets, with light traffic, when not designated "through streets" - both 30 km/hr.
  3. Through crowded streets such as school zones, intersections at blind corners, passing other stationary vehicles, or other similar dangerous circumstances, only 20 km/hr


Some violations punishable by penalty fees under RA 4136 are overtaking and passing a vehicle, Obstruction of traffic, right of way and signaling, reckless driving, turning at intersections, driving or parking on the sidewalk, and even hitching to a vehicle.


2. RA 10913: Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016

Don't text and drive. Have you seen, or heard this reminder before? Unfortunately, a driver who forgot to drive carefully led to the creation of this act, which prohibits all Filipino drivers and foreign license holders from using any electronic mobile devices and mobile phones while the car is moving, or even during a red light. Don't try it even for a minute, because if you get caught, you'll be facing Php 5,000 on your first offense. However, you can still use gadgets, provided that they have a hands-free function such as Bluetooth earphones.

The sanctions for the violations of this act range from Php 5,000 on the first offense, up to Php 20,000 with the revocation of your driver's license.

3. RA 10586: Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013

Don't drink and drive. How about this one? I'm sure you have seen and heard of this statement. This law is should be the most taken seriously by drivers, as this will not only cause vehicular accidents, but also damage to property, but also loss of lives. If you are arrested driving under the influence of alcohol and in possession of dangerous drugs, then expect that you are subject to various tests, such as field sobriety tests, breath analyzers, and for suspected under the influence of drugs and similar substances, chemical tests.


Once found guilty, the following penalty fees will be incurred:

  • if it didn't result in physical injury or homicide - Php 50,000 - Php 100, 000
  • if there are physical injuries - Php 150,000 - Php 250, 000
  • if it resulted in homicide - Php 350,000 - Php 500,000 plus imprisonment

4. RA 8750: The Seat Belts Use Act of 1999

A global symbol for car safety, wearing seat belts is one of the ways how you can protect yourself in case the braking efficiency of a motor vehicle's brakes fails. To strengthen the normal braking capabilities of a motor vehicle, the installation of a dual hydraulic brake system on the front or rear wheels is encouraged. However, as a proactive way of protection for many drivers and passengers, it's a must to wear them whenever you are in a moving vehicle.


For penalties, you will be paying Php 100 to Php 1,000 on the first offense, up to Php 500 to Php 5,000, and a one-week suspension of your driver's license.

5. RA 10666: Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015

While a seatbelt may protect passengers within a car, it is not the case for a motorcycle. Because more passengers turn to motorcycles to avoid heavy traffic, vehicular accidents involving motorcycles are on the rise, some of them involving children. Hence, this driving law became into effect. Whenever a two-wheeled vehicle runs faster than 60 kph on public roads, children are not allowed to ride them. However, there are exemptions. If the child can comfortably reach the foot peg of the motor vehicle, if the child can properly grip around the waist of the rider, and wears a protective helmet, then they are allowed to ride the motorcycle without fear of apprehension or violation.


Corresponding penalties for violation of this act range from Php 3,000 on the first offense up to Php 10, 000 on the third offense.

6. RA 1005: Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009

If children are of concern as they ride motorcycles, of course, all passengers become subject of concern, as well. Hence the RA 1005 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009. In this republic act, motorbike riders are required to wear DTI-prescribed standard helmets as they travel. Failure of motorists in wearing helmets may cause them to pay violation fees of Php 1,500 on the first offense up to Php 10,000 and confiscation of their license on the fourth and succeeding offenses.



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