A very timely legislation
- Lester Dizon (The Philippine Star) - August 22, 2012 - 12:00am

A bill has been filed in Congress to help reduce road accidents anywhere in the country caused by over-speeding buses. House Bill 6395 mandates the installation of speed limiters on all public utility buses plying the streets of Metro Manila and all provincial roads.

The proposed legislation is authored by the Rodriguez brothers—Congressman Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro and Abante Mindanao party-list Representative Maximo Rodriguez.

Recent studies reportedly conducted by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) strengthened the need to pass the bill into law. The figures showed that there have been 395 victims of bus accidents, 74 deaths, 300 injuries and 20 cases of damage to property in 2011 alone.

Under the proposed law, all bus companies operating in the country will be required to install speed limiters that electronically prevent vehicles from going beyond the pre-set speed limits. The contention of the Rodriguez brothers is that most of these road accidents are caused by buses running faster than they are allowed. With speed limiters bus drivers would not have the option to obey or disregard road maximum speeds as these speed limiters would dictate the fastest that they can go.

It is being proposed that the maximum speed of buses in Metro Manila be set at 40 kilometers per hour while buses running in provincial roads should not go beyond 60 kilometers per hour.

The speed limiters would be subject to regular inspections by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the LTO with both agencies mandated to deny registration or cause outright disenfranchisement of bus companies found with buses without the device. Those fielding buses without speed limiters get a 30-day suspension of franchise aside from the impounding of the involved bus while those with multiple violations face cancellation of franchise and those found tampering with the device face imprisonment or fines or both.

This proposed legislation would undoubtedly reduce road accidents caused by drivers who go beyond the speeds dictated by road signs as they are given no choice other than to run based on what the electronic speed limiting device has been set for the vehicle to run fastest. And we are talking of what’s mostly the cause of road accidents.

Brake failure, which is almost always blamed by drivers who survive road crashes, may not cause so much damage if the vehicle were not running at top speeds as engine-braking can still be applied. Or safe vehicle evasive maneuvering can still be possible if the speeds were manageable.

Now the prescribed speed limits in the bill may face varied reactions and suggestions as to what should be practical. Some quarters may find the 40 kph speed limit for the Metro very stiff and could slow down traffic flow. Although this would only be true within the bus lanes, that is, if the buses would really be confined where they should only be.

The provincial speed limit of 60 kph may be more practical at 80 kph, which is the speed limit of buses at the tollways. But the presence of speed limiters in vehicles should not exempt its drivers from speed limits dictated by road signs—meaning they should run at 60 kph when the road sign says they should, even if their speed-limiting device allowed them to go a maximum of 80 kph.

The presence of speed limiters can actually aid the LTO and LTFRB in reducing the illegal practice of buses plying out of line as those with speed limiters for Metro Manila would find it difficult to ply the provincial roads as these are limited to a 40 kph or 60 kph run (whichever would be finally approved) in the highways. To begin with, if the 40 kph would be the prescribed maximum speed for Metro buses, they would violate the minimum speed of 60 kph at the toll ways.

We laud the Rodriguez brothers for such legislative move as we would also express our admiration to those in the lower house who would support it and see to it that it is passed and approved. We also hope that it would not meet rough sailing as a Senate version of the bill is crafted and finally passed into law. I don’t think such a constructive Legislation would have a place for a Veto once it reaches Malacanang.


Still on speed limits

It’s great to see that the prescribed speed limits of vehicles running at the SLEX are all in very visible lighted (LED) signs right as you enter the southern toll ways, 100 kph for cars and 80 kph for buses. But I feel that drivers should be reminded whenever it is possible as they travel all the way throughout the SLEX.

I find a lot of overpasses that can still be placed with big signs that could constantly remind all drivers of the speed limits as well as the safe and proper way to drive through the tollways, which is to use the leftmost or innermost lane only for passing slower vehicles. More overhead LED signs can also still be installed in the Skyway.

This could be an investment to further make travel in the expressway safer with more drivers or users constantly well-informed on the basics of safe driving and proper use of the toll ways. After all, information is one of the key elements in instilling driver discipline.

Of course, ultimately all these signs could be useless if not coupled with strict implementation.


End-of-the-year outdoor motor show is next

Right at the heels of the successful staging of the 4th Philippine International Motorshow (PIMS) organized by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) at the World Trade Center is the staging of the biggest outdoor motor show that’s schedule on November 8 up to November 11 at the expansive Concert Grounds of the SM Mall of Asia (MOA).

The Auto Focus Motor Show & Auto Expo will have 12 of the major players in the local auto industry participating, namely; Toyota Motor Philippines, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, Hyundai Asia Resources, Nissan Motor Philippines, Columbian Autocar (Kia), Isuzu Philippines, Ford Philippines, Universal Motors (Nissan comm’l vehicles), The Car Covenant Company (Chevy), Asian Carmakers (BMW), Lexus Manila and the up and coming Peugeot (the first public display of the much-awaited come-backing premium European marque).

The country’s biggest display and test drive of all brand new vehicles has historically seen a sales surge being a pre-Christmas automobile shopping spree. Staging it at the MOA, a most convenient venue known for its heavy traffic of people all weeklong, adds to its institutional stature as a much awaited yearly auto industry event.

Aside from seeing the best automobile brands in the flesh up close and personal and the opportunity to test drive most of them, there will also be live concerts in the early afternoon and evening. And for this year there will also be the highly competitive 2012 Grand Torisimo Challenge, which offers great cash and valuable prizes aside from the prestigious title of Grand Champion.

By the way, admission in the Auto Focus Motor Show & Auto Expo, which is presented in cooperation with Caltex with Techron is absolutely FREE.

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments: (E-mail) motoringtoday-star@stv.com.ph

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