EDITORIAL - Unsafe rides

The Philippine Star
EDITORIAL - Unsafe rides

Part of the mandate of the new secretary of transportation is to promote road safety. Under the new dispensation, implementation of rules on vehicle roadworthiness must be tightened, particularly for trucks, which keep figuring in fatal accidents because of malfunctioning brakes.

The latest mishap occurred in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte last Wednesday. Six persons died, including the drivers of the vehicles involved, when a hauler truck collided head-on with a Dipolog-bound ambulance along a sharp curve on a highway in Barangay Doña Josefa. Police said the truck driver lost control of the wheel when the brakes malfunctioned.

On Jan. 13 this year, 11 people including children died when a small truck headed for a belated Christmas party at a beach resort in Balingasag town, Misamis Oriental veered off a road and hit a tree then flipped over, smashing into a pile of rocks. Probers said the brakes of the truck, which was crammed with about 50 passengers, failed as it drove down a sloping road.

On Dec. 3 last year in Talisay City, a 10-wheeler dump truck that was reportedly speeding plowed into a six-wheeler truck, five cars, five motorcycles and a bicycle, leaving five people dead including the truck driver and 10 injured.

Along winding mountain roads around the country, malfunctioning brakes are a common cause of trucks and buses plunging into ravines. Among the deadliest was the one in Northern Luzon in 2019, when a truck laden with rice seeds rolled backward along a mountain road, falling rear first into a ravine together with its passengers, most of them farmers. Nineteen passengers died.

Brake malfunction is common as well in public buses, which also figure regularly in deadly accidents all over the country. The new administration will have to improve the promotion of road safety. People who can afford to buy a truck or operate a bus service can surely afford to keep the vehicles properly maintained for roadworthiness.


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