March 14, 2017
DELAYS IN IMPLEMENTATION OF SPEED LIMITER LAW PUT PUBLIC AT RISK--POE
It has been eight months since Republic Act (RA) No. 10916 or the law mandating the fitting of speed limiter for public utility vehicles (PUVs) was put in place but its full implementation remains in jeopardy as delays hound the issuance of the law's implementing rules and regulations (IRR), Sen. Grace Poe said today.
Despite Congress' intentions to pass road safety-related measures to ensure a safer environment for the public, Poe lamented that the framework for effectively implementing RA 10916 which would have been expected to reduce road-related accidents was still not being realized.
"Hahayaan na lang ba nating malagas ang buhay ng mga inosenteng pasahero ng mga binansagang "killer buses?" Hindi dapat nangingibabaw ang kapabayaan sa mga pampublikong sasakyan ng mga operator at mga ahensyang may hawak sa regulasyon ng mga transportasyong-lupa," said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services that spearheaded a legislative inquiry into the tragic bus accident in Tanay, Rizal last month that claimed the lives of 15 people, mostly college students who were on their way to a medical and survival training.
"I think [the immediate issuance of the IRR] is crucial. If we have this in place at least we can make sure that there are less careless drivers on the road," said Poe, who pressed the Transportation department to finally release the law's IRR.
Asked by Poe on the status of the IRR months after the passage of RA 10916 in July last year, Transportation Usec. Anne Lontoc said it is currently being drafted by a technical working group composed of the Transportation, Public Works and Trade departments and they target its issuance next month. What postpones the IRR's issuance, Lontoc said, is the setting of standards on speed limits and specifications of the speed limiter to be installed on covered vehicles.
Under Section 8 of the law, the Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology, in consultation with private stakeholders, is tasked to formulate and promulgate the necessary IRR within 60 days from the law's effectivity. The law covers all PUVs (excluding taxi, jeepneys and Transportation Network Vehicle Service cars), closed commercial vans, cargo haulers, tanker trucks and company shuttles.
Equally lamentable, Poe said, is the fact that the law has been reduced to a mere paper tiger as it prescribes strict mechanisms on the use of speed limiters and imposes penalties on offenses but none has been charged despite clear violations of vehicles involved in road crashes.
Poe reminded, however, that the Speed Limiter Law was passed in the wake of a string of deadly bus accidents from 2013-2015, which killed some 40 people.
"Road safety has been regarded as a public health issue due to numerous accidents that claim innocent lives and injure many people. Deaths and injuries and damage to property could have been prevented if institutional stakeholders had already issued the IRR that would ensure the safety of the public on roads," Poe added.
Those who violate the Speed Limiter Act, which covers PUVs (except for taxi, jeepneys and ride-hailing services), would be prohibited to register or receive a franchise permit and the owners or operators will face a P50,000 fine. The license of a driver using a PUV without a speed limiter will be suspended or even revoked. A succeeding offense could lead to a one-year suspension and an imposed fine for the third offense. Those who tamper speed limiters face a jail term of six to 36 months and a P30,000 fine.
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