LTO explains when non-wearing of face masks becomes ‘reckless driving’

Published February 1, 2021, 4:23 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

The non-wearing of face masks behind the steering wheel could now be considered an instance of “reckless driving,” a Land Transportation Office (LTO) official reminded the public Monday.

Land Transportation Office (LTO) (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“When you drive a vehicle, kapag may kasama ka at wala kang face mask (and you have a companion in the vehicle and you’re not wearing a face mask), that is equivalent to reckless driving,” LTO Law Enforcement Service Acting Director Clarence Guinto said in an interview over DZMM radio.

“So, inangkop namin ang penalty ng (we’ve also equated the penalty of) non-wearing of face mask to reckless driving,” Guinto added.

In May 2020, the agency issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-2185, which outlined the sanitary requirements for public and private vehicles including the mandatory wearing of face masks at all times.

Under the circular, non-compliance with the face mask requirement will be considered reckless driving for both private and public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers with a corresponding fine of P2,000 for the first offense, P3,000 for the second offense, and P10,000 for the subsequent offense under the agency’s Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01.

Guinto said the LTO has carried out a massive information dissemination campaign about this guideline amid complaints of several drivers regarding the “new normal” policy.

“It is harsh but that is the provision of the circular and we have to implement this,” he said.

However, the LTO official noted that an exemption would be granted in case of an emergency.

Meanwhile, Guinto urged motorists to contest erroneous citations made by their enforcers and report these mistakes to their office.