MANILA, Philippines — Did you know that in 2017, 4 in every 100,000 Filipinos died due to road crashes?
For a lot of Pinoys on the road, convenience comes before safety. We speed up when the light turns yellow and use hazard lights to park in the middle of the road.
The result? Resources and precious lives wasted.
3M is a company committed to improving lives. Educating the government, road sign makers, car dealers, auto enthusiasts, and the general public about road safety is part of their advocacy.
Their #DriveForRoadSafety forum, held last September 20 at the 3M Customer Technical Center, featured speakers passionate about improving lives through better roads — Ariel Lacsamana, 3M Philippines President & Managing Director; James Deakin, motoring journalist; and Lucille Sodipe, Vera Files journalist. Road safety advocate Vincent Lazatin moderated the discussion.
Read on to learn how you can become part of this effort.
Change what’s broken
Whether you’re in the metro or in the province, the country’s roads definitely need a makeover. Long-term solutions will take years, but Lacsamana says an immediate fix is to make road signs more visible.
Do your part with regular car maintenance. Simple things such as making sure your headlights work can prevent crashes.
Traffic signages should also adhere to international standards. “We can’t take creative license with that. A lot of signages here are sponsored by motels. It’s funny for us, but there is no standard to it,” said Deakin.
Change your attitude
In the Philippines, driver’s tests don’t always include driving. But proper testing and education are fundamental to creating safer roads.
Dangerous practices such as drunk driving are common. “It’s not just tolerated, but celebrated. We need a total reboot of our approach to road safety. The more that people are talking about it, the more stigmatized we make it [drunk driving], the more chances we have of getting somewhere,” said Deakin.
3M teaches their employees the basics, such as how to be better drivers and how to properly cross the street. “We’ve done it for other countries, why not for the Philippines?” said Lacsamana. “We also do volunteer advocacy with LGUs to pilot safety programs to the baranggay level or the communities we operate in.”
To engage the youth, Lacsamana considers gamification a possible solution. AR games about road safety, in the vein of Pokemon Go, is a fresh and innovative way to educate.
Change the narrative
Words are powerful. This is why Sodipe avoids using the term “accident” when writing her reports.
“Instead of using the word ‘accidents,’ that presupposes these things are acts of God, or not preventable, we say road crashes, road traffic incidents, or injuries due to crashes,” she advises fellow journalists.
Stories should also paint a bigger picture and not just focus on road crashes, but on road safety. Beyond the grisly body count, stories should feature solutions coming from the government, the private sector, and regular Filipinos.
Are you doing your part?
Philippine transportation is beset by problems that won’t be easy to eradicate — corruption in government agencies, decades of bad habits, lack of funds, and old regulations.
You can help, however. It’s simple — just follow the rules. Wear your seatbelt, maintain your vehicles, treat yourself and other drivers with respect, and don’t let road rage get the best of you.
This transportation issue is part of a bigger problem. “It’s something that will affect our health and development as a nation,” said Sodipe. “When we do that reframing, we can come up with better solutions to our road safety problems.” — Rappler.com