JV Ejercito bills seek to stop repeat of Nueva Ecija bus incident
MANILA, Philippines – Senator JV Ejercito declared himself an advocate of road safety during the celebration of the 4th United Nations Global Road Safety Week on Wednesday, May 10.
The chairman of the commitees on health and public services hosted in the Senate the forum "Seats that Saves Lives," where he vowed to push for the passage of bills he filed to prevent the repeat of the tragic Nueva Ecija bus incident that killed 27 people.
“I love everything that has engines. Not only cars and motorcycles. I love trains. I love airplanes, everything. Rest assured you have a partner in the Senate who understands.” Ejercito said during his opening remarks.
Ejercito later delivered a privilege speech before the Senate plenary to discuss his proposed laws. They are meant to fill gaps in existing laws on road safety. (READ: What laws keep road users safe in the Philippines)
- Senate Bill 1446 or the Anti-Overloading Act of 2017
- Senate Bill 1447 or the Child Safety Motor Vehicle Act of 2017
- Senate Bill 1375 or the National Transportation Safety Board.
The proposed Anti-Overloading Act of 2017 seeks to criminalize overloading of public utility vehicles by amending the penalties of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. Violators may be fined up to P1 million, could lose their franchises, and suffer up to 6 years in prison.
"We do not want another accident such as what happened in Nueva Ecija. That overloaded bus that fell into a 100 foot ravine that took the lives of 31 people and injured 46. It is about time that we update the law because in reality, almost all PUVs have a habit of overloading at the expense of passenger's comfort and safety,” Ejerito said in his bill.
The proposed Child Safety Motor Vehicle Act of 2017 or Senate Bill 1447 seeks to complement the Seatbelt Use Act of 1999. Ejercito said the latter “only protects adults and is not purposely adapted for children and infants.” (READ: What laws help keep road users safe in the Philippines?)
Child restraints are specifically designed to protect children and yound infants during collisions, sudden swerving maneuvers, the opening of doors during vehicle movement or sudden stops. He said the proposed law can significantly reduce fatalities and injuries among children. (READ: Road safety advocates seek passage of child restraint bill )
“The child restraint law is the only law left that can seal the deal in our efforts to promote road safety and in fulfilling the road safety targets as reflected in 2013 agenda Sustainable Development Goals,” Ejercito said.
He also proposed the creation of a National Transportation Safety Board. “The board will be in charge of investigation and determination of probable cause of transportation accidents, issuance of safety recommendations, safety studies directing at preventing recurrences of accidents and evaluating the effectiveness of concerned government agencies as well as their policies in preventing transportation accidents," he said.
Ejercito said the alarming situation of road crashes makes it one of the “most pervasive issues in the country today."
"In Metro Manila alone, 1 person is killed by a road crash every 17 hours. This means an average of 43 people die every month and at least 509 people die every year due to road accidents." Ejercito said (READ: In Numbers: Road crash incidents in the Philippines) – Rappler.com
In the Philippines, an average of more than 600 children died from road crash incidents from 2006 to 2015. Seat belts can save lives but infants and children need a more specific type of car seats for them in case of a road mishap.
Want to know more about child safety car seats? Here are some stories:
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