Poe blames poor road safety signs for high vehicular accidents

Published June 16, 2021, 12:02 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe is calling for a stricter enforcement of putting up road and public safety signages to lessen car accidents as well as risks to pedestrians.

A car blocked the bus lane along the EDSA underpass in Mandaluyong City after its driver tried to avoid a motorcycle on January 1, 2021. (MARK BALMORES/MANILA BULLETIN)

Poe filed on Tuesday, June 15, Senate Bill No. 2293 that seeks to mandate the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local government units to install and maintain traffic and safety signages and impose administrative penalties on concerned government officials for failure to do so.

The chairperson of the Senate public services committee said that despite the Philippines’ ratification of the 1968 Vienna Convention Road Signs and Signals, “road crashes are still prevalent in the country.”

She cited in her bill a report by the MMDA, which recorded 121,771 road crash incidents in Metro Manila in 2019, 372 of which were fatal.

Despite the lockdowns and mobility restrictions implemented in 2020, the MMDA still recorded 65,032 cases, 337 of them resulted in deaths.

While other factors contribute to accidents, she said installing visible road signs “is clearly a must to protect and save many lives”

“Articles and images of faulty or questionable signages have been reported throughout the years and such still remain as evident threats to both motorists and pedestrians,” Poe pointed out.

Under SB 2293, the DPWH will take charge of the public safety signs on national roads, while the MMDA will oversee national roads in Metro Manila. LGUs, meanwhile, shall be responsible for local roads. The funds needed for the installation and maintenance of the road signs shall be sourced from their respective annual budgets.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) will be tasked to update the geohazard map and identify areas susceptible to floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the like, and coordinate with the DPWH and MMDA on setting up the necessary signs.

The bill proposes administrative penalties for district engineers, traffic official, and city and municipal engineers in case of death or injury due to the lack or absence of a proper safety signage in an area identified as potentially risky.

For the first offense, they could be suspended for one month and a day to three months. Meanwhile, for the second offence, a suspension of up to six months will be imposed; and up to one year and a day for the third offense.

On the fourth offense, they shall be dismissed from service.