Senator Grace Poe is pushing for the integration in the school curriculum driver’s education to effectively reduce road casualties and stop road accidents from replacing heart disease as the leading cause of death in the Philippines.
Poe, who heads the public services committee in the Senate, recently filed Senate Bill 1231 or the proposed Road Safety and Comprehensive Driver’s Education Act which seeks the mandatory integration of basic road safety and comprehensive driver’s education in the enhanced basic education curriculum.
The senator believes that inculcating good road safety habits and driver’s discipline among youths could help reduce accidents and road casualties.
Under the measure, basic road safety shall be taught in the elementary level while comprehensive driver’s education shall be made part of the junior and senior high school and higher education curricula.
In the explanatory note of her bill, Poe noted that from 2008 to 2013, road accidents is the fifth highest cause of mortality, accounting for 36,000 deaths for every 100,000 population.
In 2012, road mishaps were the fourth leading cause of mortality in the Philippines. Health officials predict that road accidents could become the leading cause of deaths in the country by 2020, surpassing diseases of the heart and vascular system, malignant neoplasms, and pneumonia.
“The statistics are extremely frustrating. Road accidents are the most preventable of all the causes of mortality as such are man-made and are within our control and prevention,” Poe said.
The senator added that road accidents can be addressed simply by enforcing the law and promoting greater awareness on road safety.
If enacted, SB 1231 will direct the Department of Education (DepEd), the chairperson of the Commission on Higher Education, Department of Transportation, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and Metro Manila Development Authority to formulate and implement a basic road safety and comprehensive driver’s education subject for students in basic and higher education.
The funds needed for the measure will be sourced from the budget of the DepEd under the General Appropriations Act.