#2030NOW: Why road safety – or the lack of it – is a human rights issue
MANILA, Philippines – Road safety, or the absence of it, is a human rights issue, especially in the Philippines. (READ: Road crash numbers: Looking at the data sources)
Superintendent Oliver Sy Tanseco of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group said this, as he cited 1.25 million deaths in the country and 50 million worldwide yearly due to vehicle crash.
“In our country, being one of the low-income countries, road crashes are a major concern. It’s a world health issue,” Tanseco said during the 2017 Social Good Summit on Saturday, September 16.
Tanseco also said people aged 15 to 29 years old are more susceptible to dying from road crash.
In 2016, he said, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported 10,000 deaths due to road crashes, while the PNP reported 2,100 deaths. But these numbers, he said, are way lower than reality.
“It is still underreported. For one thing, we have no national database system for road crashes. If we have complete data, believe me, road crashes are a major concern for everyone in the country,” he said.
Tanseco also said statistics should not just be limited to the actual deaths on site, on the way to the hospital, or those declared dead on arrival.
“All road crashes-related deaths [should be included], meaning, day 1 up to 30 days then on,” he said, citing victims who later died due to injuries.
How to keep roads safe
While the government is working to keep roads safe, Tanseco said the public has to assert their right.
The World Health Organization has set a target of reducing by half the number of deaths due to crashes by 2020 or barely 3 years from now.
“You have to assert your right. Road safety is a human rights issue. Look at the data, we are not able to reduce it,” Tanseco said.
He then explained why there is no such thing as a traffic or road “accident.” Accidents are unforeseen and unpredictable instances while vehicle crashes are predictable and can be controlled.
Tanseco, also a lawyer, said the two meanings have legal implications. In legal cases, an accident means there is no intent on the part of the suspect or perpetrator, thereby lessening his responsibility.
Tanseco said one way to keep the roads safe is by reducing driving speed by 5%. This, he said, would reduce all crashes by one-third.
He also advised the public to use seatbelts and to exercise discipline on the road.
Tanseco ended his speech by saying not all policemen are killers, an apparent reference to the controversies hounding the police force amid an ongoing bloody drug war.
“Marami pa po kagaya namin, concerned sa safety nyo, sa rights 'nyo.” Tanseco said. (There are still many police like us who are concerned about your safety, your rights.)– Rappler.com