Leash the beast

ARE WE THERE YET? - Backseat Driver (The Freeman) - August 23, 2015 - 10:00am

An incident a couple of weeks ago jogged my memory about a petition that had circulated various social media platforms regarding road safety. The petition, which was initiated by another motoring columnist named Mr. James Deakin in 2013, called for the land transportation and franchising board to mandate the installation of speed limiters on all public utility buses. The petition asked for a very stiff penalty of franchise revocation if the operator failed to install speed limiters on all their buses.

This petition actually gained momentum and reached the office of the chairman of the franchising board. The board was quick to recognize the logic behind this petition and began working with many bus operators to put together a program that would, not only regulate the speed of these rolling battering rams, but improve overall road safety. Included in that program is the installation of global positioning system (GPS) gadgets, tacograph, and closed-circuit cameras in all the buses.

The GPS gadget that they intend to install on the buses compliments the speed limiter as the gadget would regulate the speed of the buses as they enter certain zones.  If a bus, running around 80 kilometers per hour, enters a 50 kph zone, the vehicle's engine will automatically lose power and drop the bus' speed to within or below the maximum imposed speed limit. This would ensure that no matter how hard the bus driver pounds his foot on the accelerator, the behemoth vehicle will not go beyond the mandated speed limit.  Aside from this feature, a large heads-up display (HUD) inside the bus will show all the passengers the speed with which the bus is running.

The tacograph is also useful as this would automatically record the vehicle's speed, travelled distance and the driver's activity.  It's pretty much like the telemetry system installed in modern Formula One cars.  This data would be very helpful in the event that a bus would figure in a traffic collision as it would help investigators pin point possible reasons why the collision took place.

The addition of closed-circuit cameras inside the bus would, not only help deter crimes, but would also provide documentation for any incident that may happen on the road.  If you ask me, they should mandate that at least one camera, with audio capability, should be permanently focused on the driver.  This would allow bus operators and the transport sector an inside view on the mindset of a driver and help draw up programs that would help improve driver screening process.  This would help weed out the road-rage prone reckless drivers from the crystal-meth devil-may-care ones.

For me though, this safety requirement should extend to all commercial vehicles.  It is not only public-utility buses that have a track record of causing high speed traffic collisions which result in the loss of lives.  In fact, the incident I mentioned earlier claimed the life of a good man.  No matter what excuse the driver had, a vehicle that would be running well below the 50 kph speed limit in that area would not cause a collision that massive even if it "lost its brakes."  It wasn't the loss of braking capability, but the lack of regard for road safety.

Oh, and on another note, just because you stick a "Government Project: Do Not Delay" note on your windshield Mr. Reckless Truck Driver, it doesn't give you the license to flash your lights, drive against the flow of traffic, and try to run other vehicles off the road.  If I were to decide, it's these people and their trucks that should be the first to be mandated and fitted with these gadgets.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with