• Speed limiters sought with bus accidents killing 33 people in five months

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    An electronic speed limiter should be installed in buses and cargo trucks to prevent accidents, lawmakers said Wednesday.

    Reps. Eric Olivarez of Parañaque and Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City made the call in light of at least three tragic bus incidents during the past five months which left at least 33 people dead and 92 others injured.

    In December 2013, a speeding Don Mariano Bus fell of the Skyway. Come February 2014, a Florida Bus also crashed in the ravine in Mt. Province. And just last Holy Week, a Victory Liner bus also fell off a cliff in Olongapo City.

    Under Olivarez’s House Bill 3924 all applicants of a franchise and/or license to operate public utility buses and/or multi-wheeler cargo trucks, or the renewal thereof as the case may be, are mandated to install the speed limiters. The failure to comply with this requirement shall be a sufficient ground for the denial of the application.

    More specifically, Olivarez’s proposal mandates the use of a speed limiter with a programmed maximum speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour for public utility buses traversing any route in the country. On the other hand, a speed limiter with a programmed maximum speed limit of 50 kilometers per hour will be installed in every multi-wheeler truck, regardless of the weight of cargoes they carry, or of whether or not they are empty.

    “We need this kind of vigilance to preserve our people’s right to life and property,” Olivarez, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, said.

    Bus operators or truck owners who fail to install and maintain accurately programmed and untampered speed limiters will face a P200,000 fine and suspension or revocation of franchise and/or Certificate of Registration of buses and cargo trucks. Moreover, a person found to have deliberately tampered with the speed limiters as provided under Olivarez’s proposal will be imprisoned for one to five years on top of the P10,000 to P50,000 fine, depending on the court’s discretion.

    For public utility buses and/or multi-wheeler cargo trucks which met any kind of vehicular accident and which were later found out to have tampered or had no speed limiters installed when the said accident happened, the guilty driver will be meted five years of imprisonment without prejudice to the filing of a separate criminal case of Reckless Imprudence or other quasi-offenses against him.

    On the other hand, the bus or truck operator or proprietor will be fined with P200,000, on top of the fine imposed for failure to install speed limiters.

    Treñas, for his part, noted that the Land Transportation Franchising Board should implement a program that would install speed limiters on buses, trucks and other vehicles that are above 7.5 tons in maximum payload.

    The Iloilo lawmaker pushed for a 60 kilometers per hour (kph) speed limit for city buses and a 90 kilometers per hour speed limit for provincial buses.

    “While these trucks and buses are essential in ensuring the continuous flow and transportation of people and goods, public safety should remain the government’s paramount concern,” Treñas, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Accountability, pointed out.

    Treñas also filed a bill seeking for the mandatory installation of speed limiters, but underscored that LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez can implement such policy within a year even without a law since the LTFRB is mandated to implement programs that promote safety in public transport.

    “Despite repeated public calls for bus and truck operators to impose proper driving discipline and etiquette for their drivers, there seems to be no progress in the campaign to reduce deadly road mishaps. These accidents could have been avoided if these buses are responsible enough for the safety of their passengers,” Treñas argued.

    “Considering the recent events, it is apparent that is really no hope for our drivers to be more cautious when behind the wheel. The only way to stop their recklessness is to install these speed limiters. We need better discipline from our bus and truck drivers, whether they like it or not,” Treñas added.

    LLANESCA T. PANTI

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