8 Common LTO Violations in the Philippines You Should Know (and Avoid!)

With vehicles being a substantial investment and the cost of fuel rising, it’s important to make sure that your vehicle is running at its optimal level. One way to do this is by keeping an eye out for LTO violations—especially if you plan on driving in Metro Manila.

Regardless of your vehicle’s age, registering it with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is a time-consuming process. Obviously, a significant sum of money is also required. However, when contrasted to the fines and penalties associated with noncompliance, the hours and a few thousand pesos we spend each year registering our vehicles is nothing. Driving an unregistered vehicle might easily cost you five figures, in case you were unaware. In this guide, we will discuss the different types of LTO violations and how they can affect you. Keep on reading to learn more.

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8 Common LTO Violations You Should Know (And Avoid!)

Aside from operating an unregistered vehicle, there are countless other offenses, some of which carry significantly harsher punishments. We will examine eight LTO registration violations that every driver should be aware of in this post. The information in this post, like all of our previous lessons, was obtained straight from the Land Transportation Management System (LTMS) Portal. However, changes to the system are constantly being made, so you should always check the latest regulations regarding registration violations with the LTO directly.

#1 Driving an unregistered vehicle

This includes driving a vehicle with an incorrect registration or a registration that is expired, revoked, suspended, or invalid. Operating a motor vehicle with an unregistered or phoney replacement or substitute engine, engine block, or chassis is likewise prohibited.

Fine: P10,000

If a motor vehicle is not registered and the violation has been continuous for more than one month, the vehicle will be held and released only after valid registration and payment of all applicable fines and penalties. In the case of undocumented engines, the vehicle will be impounded and fine payments will be forbidden for a year. Similarly, the authorities will seize any undocumented engines.

#2 Unauthorized motor vehicle modification

This includes color alterations and other illegal changes to the manufacturer’s standard standards that are not addressed in the preceding section.

Penalties: Vehicle release is conditional on inspection, correction of the defect, and payment of the fine.

#3 Driving a right-hand-drive vehicle

Yes, in case you didn’t know, driving a right-hand-drive vehicle in the Philippines is illegal. But what does this mean exactly? A right-hand-drive vehicle is one that has its controls on the left side of the car, and not on the right like in North America. This means that if you drive a right-hand-drive vehicle here, you’ll have to drive on the wrong side of the road!

Penalties: The vehicle will be confiscated and released after an inspection and payment of the fine if the flaw has been corrected.

#4 Driving a motor vehicle with defective, unsuitable, or unlawful attachments, gadgets, equipment, or parts

Bells, sirens, whistles, blinkers, horns, grilles, brakes, brake lights, mirrors, mufflers, spare tires, speedometers, windshields, and windshield wipers are examples of road safety accessories.

Fine: P5,000

Penalties: The motor vehicle will be impounded until the accessory, device, equipment, or part, as appropriate, is properly installed, repaired, or removed, and the fee is paid. Furthermore, the erroneous or illegal accessory, gadget, equipment, or component must be confiscated for the benefit of the government.

#5 Failure to attach, incorrectly attaching, or tampering with permitted motor vehicle license plates and third plate stickers.

This includes the attachment of unauthorized plates, accessories, or devices to and/or surrounding the approved motor vehicle license plate, as well as any form of attachment that reduces the visibility or reflectivity of the authorized motor vehicle license plate and/or the third plate sticker.

Fine: P5,000

The authorized motor vehicle license plate or third plate sticker must be properly attached, while the unauthorized plate, accessory, or gadget must be removed and forfeited to the government.

#6 Billowing smoke

Any vehicle suspected of exceeding emission limitations based on observable symptoms, such as smoke-belching, must pass an emission test. This is a grave violation of the law, as it can compromise public health.

Smoke belching from a vehicle is a sign of excessive emissions, which can cause serious health problems. It can also lead to traffic accidents, as the driver loses visibility due to the billowing smoke.

First offense: a maximum fine of P2,000.

Second offense carries a maximum fine of P4,000.

The third and subsequent offenses result in a one-year suspension of vehicle registration and a maximum penalty of P6,000.

Penalties: The car will be impounded, and the license plate will not be restored until the required emission test and fee are passed. Furthermore, the driver and operator of the impounded vehicle must attend a pollution control management training provided by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

#7 Fraudulent motor vehicle registration and/or renewal

As the name suggests, this offense is committed when a motor vehicle owner registers or renews his/her car without a valid driver’s license.

Following payment of the fine, the car will be impounded and ineligible for registration for one year.

#8 All other violations involving the renewal or operation of a motor vehicle registration

These may include operating a motor vehicle without proper registration, driving an unregistered or expired vehicle, and failing to renew the registration of a motor vehicle within 30 days from its expiration date.

Penalty: P2,000

Pro Tips on How to Avoid Incurring an LTO Violation

1. Always have your driver’s license in hand.

Though this might seem like a no-brainer, it is still a common mistake that many Filipino drivers make. You can avoid the hassle of finding your license by always having it on hand, out of sight but within reach.

2. Make sure that your vehicle is within the legal age limit and has undergone all required safety inspections.

As traffic becomes more and more congested, it is common for people to take their vehicles out of storage and start driving again. This is not a good idea, as the LTO requires that all vehicles be registered within 30 days from their date of purchase. If you buy a new car but fail to register it within 30 days, then you will be charged with an LTO violation.

3. Avoid parking in No Parking zones or areas where parking is prohibited, including yellow curbs, red zones and loading bays.

If you’ve undergone proper driving lessons, then this one should be easy for you. Remember that a No Parking zone is usually marked by a sign with an image of a vehicle or a red circle with the words “No Parking” in it. If there is no sign, then there is no parking allowed at all.

4. Obtain a valid parking permit from the LTO if you plan to park for more than two hours at a stretch.

So, you’re in a rush and you need to park your car for more than two hours? In that case, you should apply for a parking permit from the LTO. This will prevent you from getting into trouble with the law.

5. Park your car in an LTO-permitted parking lot or a residential area where it will not obstruct traffic flow.

You can also park in a public place provided that it does not obstruct other vehicles from moving freely on the road.

6. Turn on your hazard lights while you are parking to ensure safety.

This will warn other motorists that there is a car parked in their path and prevent them from hitting it.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much is an LTO fine in the Philippines?

This varies depending on the type and severity of the violation. For example, parking without a permit will cost you P200, while overtaking a vehicle on the shoulder will cost you P500.

2. What is the seat belt law in the Philippines?

Passengers must wear seat belts while driving or riding in a car. If a driver is caught violating this law, he will be fined P200.

3. What are the consequences of failing to turn on the traffic lights?

When changing lanes, drivers should always keep in mind to stop and turn on the signal lights. However, some drivers are still lazy and reckless when it comes to driving on free roads.

4. Can you change your car without registering?

Modifying or adding any modifications to your vehicle’s motor, such as window tint or car cover, without the approval of the LTO will result in a fine.

5. Is it illegal to put a license plate in a visible position?

It is also prohibited to attach or alter any illegal license plate or sticker on the steering wheel of vehicles.

6. How do you check if you have LTO violation?

You may simply verify whether you have committed any LTO infractions by using the LTMS Online Portal (portal.lto.gov.ph). Before you may use the LTO site, you must first create an account. To examine your demerit points (the point(s) you obtain for each driving or traffic violation you commit), go to “Violations.”

Select the Unresolved tab to examine your unresolved violations. The History tab shows the violations that you have already rectified.

Final Thoughts

Driving in the Philippines shouldn’t be as difficult as it can be. Remember to always keep your car’s documents and driver’s license on you, respect other drivers on the road and follow traffic signs. Always remember that driving is a privilege, not a right.

With the right knowledge of the rules and regulations of the road, you can enjoy your time behind the wheel in the Philippines. More importantly, you can benefit from a safer and more enjoyable experience when you’re on the road. It also helps to think about just how much pesos you can save by avoiding traffic fines! We hope that this guide has helped you to understand the rules of the road and how you can drive safely in the Philippines. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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