Road safety must be everyone’s concern, not just only of the government and the advocates.

Jonnel Perez GozoUpdated April 22nd 2017, 10:52:37 am

PASIG CITY, Philippines – Statistics shows that in 2014, more than 8,000 died in the Philippines because of road crashes, and 56% of this were motorcycle riders.
In a Rappler Talk session with Mr. Jason Salvador, the former spokesperson of Land Transportation Office (LTO), and is currently a manager in global roads safety project for Ateneo School of Government, said that Philippines have good laws on road safety, but lacks on its implementation.
In the recent bus crush in Nueva Ecija, the bus is said to have 77 passengers onboard, instead of having 45 as its maximum capacity. (READ: ‘Several factors’ behind Nueva Ecija bus crash – road safety advocate)
Salvador said, LTO is not fully equipped and lacks on manpower, and upgrade must be done in order to have the right people and right tools to properly implement laws.
According to the former LTO spokesperson, streamlining the process in government agencies to avoid fixers is not a solution for corruption, but the Executive Department must empower the regulatory agencies and upgrade systems to cater better transactions.
“It would be better if you would take out the discretionary factor among the employees, you automate,” Salvador said.
In addition to that, Salvador sees that automation is better than giving authority to a person to decide if the applicant passed or failed. This will also exclude other factors in corruption such as pakikisama (comradeship) and pakikisuyo (requesting).
Salvador added that automation would be faster, more efficient and convenient not only for applicants, but also for the employees.
Salvador wants to regulate the maximum number of hours that a driver should have, and that the operators must make sure that there are alternate drivers for long trips, since this is one the reasons of road accidents here in the Philippines.
Salvador added that drivers should not only be physically fit, but should also have proper mental attitude since driving in the Philippine setting is not easy.
Commuters and LGUs
Commuters should also be proactive.
“They should not just rely on the driver or the operator to secure their safety while on the road,” Salvador said.
If the driver drives too fast, they should remind him. If the driver seems to be tired, then the commuters should urge the driver to get some rest. They should also look on the condition of the bus, its tires and if it looks old.
For the local government, they must be active, they must pinpoint dangerous areas and make sure that there are enough road signs. This move could help to prevent road accidents.
‘Paradigm shift’
Salvador stressed that there must be a shift of mindset that road safety should be everyone’s concern and not just of the government or advocates.
“There’s a helmet law, but you often see people riding motorcycles without helmets, they only wear their helmets when they know there are enforcers around because of fear of being apprehended,” Salvador said.
The public should think that they should follow the rules not because they will be apprehended or fined, but because they were trying to save their own lives.
“I think people should have a paradigm shift in their thinking that road safety is not just the government’s concern, it is everybody’s concern,” he added.
Road safety discusions have been relevant following the bus crash in Nueva Ecija. (READ: At least 26 dead in Nueva Ecija bus crash)
Watch the whole interview here.

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