WITH 10 percent of vehicular accidents being blamed on poorly-maintained roads, Sen. Francis Escudero is pushing a proposed measure mandating the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to regulate road infrastructure work in a bid to improve traffic safety.
Senate Bill 2886 or An Act Regulating Street and Road Signs, Waiting Sheds, Speed Bumps, Sidewalks, Pavements, Streetlights and Other Similar Infrastructure, authored by Escudero seeks to promote a uniform and consistent standard design for infrastructure to maximize road safety and provide reliable instructions for motorists.
Under Escudero’s proposal, the DPWH will be in charge of setting and defining specifications and measurements of all national, provincial, city, municipal and barangay (village) road and street signs, sidewalks, streetlights and other similar road infrastructures which shall be in accordance with universally accepted designs and installations suitable to the country’s standards.
“There is a need to put in place regulations that will promote a uniform and consistent standard for the design and installation of road signs, waiting sheds, streetlights, speed bumps and other road infrastructure not only to promote safety, but also to advance aesthetics throughout the country’s thoroughfares,” the senator said.
Based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 7,000 Filipinos die each year, and thousands more are injured in road accidents.
Drivers’ errors account for 79 percent, 11 percent (defective vehicles) and 10 percent (bad road conditions and ill-maintained roads).
WHO also reported that by 2030, road accidents would beat Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) and tuberculosis as the leading cause of death in the world.
In Metro Manila alone, a total 90,258 road accidents were recorded by authorities in 2014, 16,665 of them resulted in non-fatal injuries and 73,175 caused damage to property.
Four-hundred-eighteen (418) lives were lost in the road accidents.
In a separate report from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), death toll from road accidents rises by almost 14.6 percent every year, and it is projected that by 2020, without any intervention, around 300,000 people will die in road crashes.
“Our roads have become safety hazards in themselves. The government should step up in securing the well-being of motorists and the riding public by upgrading and regulating the country’s road infrastructures, which have been neglected for so long,” Escudero said.
He pointed out that with the huge budget being allocated to the DPWH, the agency should have no problem in carrying out its new mandate, once the proposed measure is enacted.
The DPWH has the second-largest allocation in the 2016 national budget at P394.5 billion or about P90 billion higher than its budget in 2014.
But aside from the national budget, the DPWH also has access to “Special Road Safety Fund” amounting to P1.04 billion.
The Road Safety Fund is sourced from the Motor Vehicle User’s Tax, or Republic Act (RA) 8794, which mandates the collection of road user’s tax from vehicle owners.
RA 8794 allots 7.5 percent of the road user’s tax collection to the special road safety fund.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto earlier said, “Aside from using the funds for traffic signals, markings, lanes, traffic channelization techniques and traffic-calming measures, the DPWH should also use portion of the fund for road safety education and training programs.”