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Needed: quality drivers’ ed

/ 10:49 PM December 23, 2013

House Bill No. 3624, which proposes to require passenger bus operators to install “speed limiters” on their buses, is a knee-jerk reaction to the Dec. 16 Skyway accident where a  passenger bus plunged and landed on a parked van, causing the death of 18 persons and injury to several others.

The proposed law, authored by Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, would only add financial burdens to the bus operators even as it muddles the proper, legal and moral way of helping promote road safety.

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A “speed limiter” cannot limit the speed of any motor vehicle being driven by a drunk or reckless driver who is unmindful of the safety of his passengers or his own. A “speed limiter” is just a gadget that can easily be rendered ineffective.

Road safety absolutely begins with the passenger bus operator. He must exercise due diligence in hiring his drivers and undertake a well-planned, safe driving training for them on a regular basis. He must also have the health of his drivers or their body condition checked before he allows them to drive any of his passenger buses. Also to be checked regularly—and this is paramount—is the road-worthiness of his buses.

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The truth is, many passenger bus operators are only interested in the money they earn and never consider the welfare of their passengers. Almost all traffic accidents are caused by “human error” or, as  we call them in defensive driving,  preventable errors!

To help promote traffic safety, concerned government agencies must also do their respective share. There are more than 10 million registered motor vehicles now, 60 percent of them plying Metro Manila roads. Yet, in Metro Manila, our traffic enforcers number only about a thousand.

How can you regulate or impose traffic rules when you hardly see these traffic policemen on the road because they are so few?

Road signs are also missing, or they are being installed in the wrong places, like so many barriers placed at random and not in the right places and are not well-lit at night.

It must be ingrained among drivers that driving is a noble profession—and that they are among the indispensable engines of progress. Help build their self-esteem through proper and well-programmed driver education and training!

—LEONARDO Q. BELEN,

 [email protected]

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TAGS: Government, Road accidents, road safety, skyway, speed limit, traffic rules, Transportation
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