The Philippine National Police (PNP)-Highway Patrol Group (HPG) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Land Transportation Office (LTO), have expressed full support to measures seeking to establish fair investigation and accountability for road crashes.
They manifested their support to House Bill No. 899 and House Bill No. 1987 filed by Batangas 5th District Rep. Mario Vittorio Mariño and Iligan City lone District Rep. Frederick Siao, during the House Committee on Transportation’s recent virtual deliberations on the proposed “Fair Road Crash Investigation and Accountability Act”.
Speaking through Police Lt. Col. Oliver Tanseco, the HPG expressed its support to the enactment of the two bills that seek to “to establish culpability as well as a competent system of investigation on major road crashes in the country.”
Tanseco also told the House panel chaired by Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento that “with 1.35 million deaths reported by the WHO (World Health Organization) for 2018 and the country’s 11,618 deaths reported by PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority) that translates to around 32 deaths or one dying on road every after 45 minutes,” impel government to enact such measures.
He said they support the investigation to focus not only on the drivers’ culpability, but also on the motor vehicle’s roadworthiness, the condition of roads, the presence or absence of laws to ensure road safety , and the response of emergency service.
Tanseco said that the House bills are in consonance with the principles espoused by the WHO.
“We believe that the proximate cause should be investigated to determine the culpability of the drivers (and) that (this) should be supported by competent evidence,” Tanseco said.
Land Transportation Office chief Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante, and DOTr Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor also manifested their support.
“We support of the passage of the bill into the law knowing the intention of the proposed law because, as of now particularly for (the) LTO, the effort is to investigate for the possible administrative case that may be filed against (the) erring driver and to find out the immediate cause of the accident.” Galvante said.
Pastor said the DOTr agrees that “there is a need to improve our laws involving road crash to properly investigate and to hold accountable the persons at fault in these cases.”
The Sarmiento panel formed a technical working group that would consolidate the measures, filed by Mariño and Siao.
Under Mariño’s HB No. 899, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group (HPG) shall be the lead agency in the investigation of major road crashes.
For minor road crashes, the Traffic Investigation Unit of the concerned local government shall have primary control over the scene and the investigation of the accident.
Under the bills filed by Mariño, the grounds for presuming culpability are similar such as, among others:
- When the driver is intoxicated or driving under the influence of illegal drugs;
- When the driver has no license or has an expired license;
- When there is failure to present the Official Receipt or Certificate of Registration (OR/CR) when asked by the first responder;
- When there is a commission of other serious traffic violations;
- When the driver flees the scene of the crime
- When there is no evidence of franchise or Certificate of Public Convenience carries or presented during apprehension;
- When the person injured was not crossing at a pedestrian lane or road intersection;
- When the person injured crosses the street or highway instead of using the designated pedestrian crossing or nearby footbridge;
- When the person injured is a motorcycle/bicycle/tricycle nor wearing road safety devices travelling on a national highway and not driving in the designated or rightmost lane of the roadway in accordance with international standards;
- When the there driver or person injured did not have the right of way at the exact time of the accident; and
- Other analogous circumstances.
Under Siao’s HB 1987, the driver is presumed to be not initially culpable or not totally at fault for the incident under investigation when:
- The victim is intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medication;
- The victim crossed the street or highway instead of using a nearby pedestrian footbridge;
- The victim is a bicycle rider not wearing safety devices or wearing dark clothing;
- The victim is a driver of a motorcycle, bicycle, or tricycle traveling on a national highway under the minimum speed limit and not on the rightmost lane of the roadway;
- The victim is a driver, who, at the exact time of the incident, did not have the right of way on the road;
- The driver did not flee from the scene of the road safety incident;
- The driver was suffering, at the time of the incident, a medial emergency such as heart attack, stroke, asthma attack, or diabetes shock; and
- The driver of other vehicle has non-functional or lacking in head lights, tail lights, and other warning devices.