THE Automobile Association of the Philippines demanded from congress the immediate passage of the law requiring owners of public utility vehicles to install a speed limiter in their vehicles following the failure of the House of Representatives to pass the measure before its recent adjournment.
The AAP said it is important that Senate Bill 2999 and House Bill 5911 be consolidated and passed into law in view of the increasing number of vehicular accidents on the streets of Metro Manila. The Senate approved the Conference Committee Report last February 2 but the House’s counterpart measure has yet to be passed.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, who chairs the House Committee on Transportation, said the House of Representatives would ratify the bill as soon as the sessions are resumed on May 23.
Augusto Lagman, AAP president, said consolidated and agreed-upon version of the Senate Bill 2999 and House Bill 5911 would further promote safety and order on the country’s roads.
“There has been a substantial number of deaths and injuries that involved buses, trucks and other public utility vehicles whose drivers seemingly find it amusing to risk the lives and limbs of their passengers,” Lagman, in a statement posted in the AAP website, said.
Based on the data collated by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority through its Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS) program, a total of 536 people were killed last year while 21,858 were injured in road accidents. Furthermore, the program shows that the number of vehicular accidents in Metro Manila rose in 2015 by 5,357 to 95,615 from 90,258 the previous year.
The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group, on the other hand, says most road accidents are due to reckless driving like driving over the speed limit and the usage of communication gadgets while driving.
Lagman said the bill is in sync with the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Decade of Action for Road Safety campaign, which aims to reduce road traffic fatalities worldwide by 50 percent by 2020.
“We are hopeful that the Senate and House of Representatives would be able to ratify it on time and get the approval of President Benigno Aquino III before his term ends this year,” he said.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, the principal sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, expressed optimism that the speed limiter bill would be ratified by the 16th Congress.
“There is more than enough time for this to be passed into law. As soon as Congress resumes session, I believe that the House would ratify this immediately. I am very positive that this will be approved as both Houses have already made it this far already,”Ejercito said.
Ejercito said the mandated speed limit as well as the implementing rules and regulations of the measure shall be determined by the Department of Transportation and Communications, Land Transportation and Franchise Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office, the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Trade and Industry.
“The DOTC will also determine whether taxis and jeepneys will also be covered by this law after one year of implementation,” Ejercito said adding that “shuttle service vehicles are already included in the bill.”
Ejercito noted that drivers of long haul vehicles are prone to reckless driving.
According to the two bills, a PUV driver will meted a P50,000 (around US $1,086) fine if he operates a vehicle without a speed limiter. The operator, driver and owner will be fined the same amount if they allow the operation of a PUV with a tampered or non-functioning speed limiter. Moreover, those found guilty of tampering a speed limiter face a jail term of six months to three years and a fine of P30,000.
Aside from the fine imposition, the suspension or revocation of the driver’s license and public utility motor vehicle franchise await subsequent/repeat offenders.