6 Traffic Laws to Remember When Driving in the Philippines

Ricky Publico
·10 min read
Traffic Laws in the Philippines | Moneymax
Traffic Laws in the Philippines | Moneymax

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 seatbelts and motorcycle helmets and ban people from driving when drunk and while using their phones.

The question is, do you know them? You should at least know what laws are responsible for keeping the peace and order on the road. Check out this refresher if you think you need to review some of the driving laws in the Philippines.

Traffic Laws in the Philippines You Need to Remember

Land Transportation and Traffic Code

driving laws in the philippines
Photo by Benedict Belen via Flickr, Creative Commons

What is RA 4136? It is arguably the most important driving law ever enacted. Republic Act 4136, also known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code[1] laid the groundwork for all the traffic regulations we have today. Plus, it also created the Land Transportation Commission in the Philippines, currently known as the Land Transportation Office.

RA 4136 required all motor vehicles to be registered in a national registry. It also set the registration requirements and fees for every car owner. Aside from that, this law also required drivers to apply for a professional and non-professional license. RA 4136 also set the penalty fees for failing to comply with the commission’s registration and licensing requirements.

In terms of traffic regulations, RA 4136 set the legal speed limits for every driver to follow. Here is a list of speed limits for all vehicles:

Maximum Allowable Speeds

Passengers Cars and Motorcycle

Motor trucks and buses

1. On open country roads, with no "blinds 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 stationery, or for similar dangerous circumstances.

20 km/hr

20 km/hr

RA 4136 also set the penalties for the following traffic violations:

  • 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 sidewalk

  • Obstruction of traffic

The penalty fee for violating any of the provisions from RA 4136 ranges from PHP 100 to PHP 500.

Read more: MMDA Violations and Fees Every Motorist Must Know About

Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016

traffic laws in the philippines - anti-distracted driving act
Photo by Mark Jesalva from Top Gear Philippines

Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act of 2016 prohibits drivers from using electronic and communication devices while the car is in motion or stopped at a red light. With a penalty of PHP 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.

But 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, laptop, 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. As long as the device in question is operated in a hands-free function such as 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.

This law is one of the most expensive traffic laws in the Philippines because of its heft penalty fees. Here’s what you can expect for private vehicle violators:

  • First offense: PHP 5,000

  • Second offense: PHP 10,000

  • Third offense: PHP 15,000

  • Fourth offense: PHP 20,000 and revocation of license

Read more: The Anti-Distracted Driving Act: How Helpful Is It in Preventing Road Accidents?

Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013

anti-drunk and drugged driving act
Photo from Philkotse

What’s worse than distracted driving? Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. RA 10586 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013[2] 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:

  • Overspeeding

  • Weaving

  • Lane straddling

  • Sudden stops

  • Swerving

  • Poor coordination

  • Evident smell of alcohol in a person’s breath

  • Signs of use of dangerous drugs

Suspected drivers will undergo a series of tests to determine if they are 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 will end up paying the following penalty fees:

  • If the violation didn’t result in physical injuries or homicide: PHP 20,000 to PHP 80,000 and three months imprisonment

  • The violation resulted in physical injuries: the penalty provided in Article 263 of the Revised Penal Code or the penalty provided in the next preceding subparagraph, whichever is higher, plus a penalty of PHP 100,000 to PHP 200,000

  • If the violation resulted in homicide: the penalty provided in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code and a penalty of PHP 300,000 to PHP 500,000

Violating this law could also lead to the perpetual revocation of your license for at least twelve months. Professional drivers could get their license perpetually revoked for as early as the first offense.

Seat Belts Use Act of 1999

traffic laws in the philippines -seat belt act
traffic laws in the philippines -seat belt act

Despite the recent suspension of the Child Seat Law, Republic Act 8750 or the Seat Belts Use Act of 1999[3] 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 also prohibits infants, toddlers, and children under six years old from sitting in front.

This law also requires car manufacturers to ensure that all their vehicles are equipped with the proper seat belt provisions. The 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 of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Follow this traffic law so you can avoid the following penalty fees:

  • First offense: PHP 100 to PHP 1,000

  • Second offense: PHP 200 to PHP 2,000

  • Third offense: PHP 500 to PHP 5,000 and one-week suspension of license

Read more: Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act: What Parents Must Know

Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015

childrens safety on motorcycle act
Photo by Seth Capitulo via Flickr, Creative Commons

The Philippines also has a law that protects children riding on motorcycles: Republic Act 10666 or the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act of 2015[4]. 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. Endangering your children could end up costing you the following:

  • First offense: PHP 3,000

  • Second offense: PHP 5,000

  • Third offense: PHP 10,000

Read more: Road Accident Laws Motorists Should Know

Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009

motorcycle helmet act
Photo by Leland Francisco via Flickr, Creative Commons

The Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009[5] or Republic Act 10054 requires motorbike drivers and riders to wear standard protective motorcycle helmets prescribed by the Department of Trade and Industry. A helmet should bear the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).

Don’t let traffic enforcers catch you violating one of the most violated traffic laws in the Philippines if you don’t have the capacity to pay the following penalty fees:

  • First offense: PHP 1,500

  • Second offense: PHP 3,000

  • Third offense: PHP 5,000

  • Fourth offense: PHP 10,000 and confiscation of license

Read more: Huwag Kang Pasaway: 10 Driving Tips for Kamote Drivers

Final Thoughts

Statistics show that an increasing number of Filipinos are violating traffic rules and getting involved in vehicular accidents. Now more than ever, you should familiarize yourself with the traffic laws in the Philippines to keep the roads safe. Aside from knowing your driving laws, you should also get car insurance to add another layer of protection while driving.

Read more on driving laws:

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