Comprehensive course on road safety being pushed in Congress

Published January 20, 2021, 2:09 PM

by Ben Rosario

Expressing deep concern over the rising number of road crashes in the country, the House Committee on Transportation moved for the swift approval of a bill mandating comprehensive education course on road safety and proper courtesy for drivers applying for license renewal or have been apprehended for violating land transportation rules and regulations.
Authored by Deputy Speaker and ABONO Partylist Rep. Conrado Estrella III and Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento (NUP, Samar), House Bill 7898 breezed through the committee deliberation and will be sent for deliberation in the plenary.
In Wednesday’s committee hearing, San Jose del Monte City Rep. moved for the approval of the measure after various government agencies and the private sector declared their support for the measure.
Estrella welcomed the swift committee action as he aired hopes that enactment of the measure will significantly reduce the number of road accidents in the country.
Worldwide statistics indicate that road crashes account for at least 1.35 million deaths and at least 30 million injuries on persons annually.
“The Philippines is not spared from this tragic phenomenon.  The Philippine Statistics Authority reported 11,292 Filipinos died due to road accidents in 2016,”  said Estrella.
Top casualties are motorcycle users and pedestrians, he disclosed.
Sarmiento, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said driver’s education on road safety and courtesy could address the problem.
According to Sarmiento the cost of road crashes has been estimated at P105.7 billion annually.
HB 7898 seeks the establishment of Driver’s Education Centers in every province to be supervised by the Land Transportation Office Regional Office.
It makes mandatory for student drivers and applicants of new driver’s license to undergo theoretical driving course and secure a certificate from an LTO-accredited driving school.
On the other hand, persons applying for renewal of their driver’s licenses will be required to undergo a Comprehensive Driver’s Education Course (CDEC).

Estrella said applicants will have a choice in taking up the driving courses either from the LTO or from a private driving school.
The bill mandates violators of land transportation laws to undergo re-orientation course.
Violators of provisions on the terms and conditions of accreditation will cost a drive school a fine raging from P100,000 to P500,000.  Suspension or revocation of their accreditation may also be ordered by the LTO.
Driving school instructors found violating the terms and conditions of their accreditation are also liable to a fine ranging from P50,000 to P250,000 and suspension or revocation of accreditation.