Senate OKs bill requiring speed limiters in public buses
MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to reduce the number of road accidents, the Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill that would mandate the installation of speed limiters in public utility buses (PUBs).
Under Senate Bill 2999, an installed speed limiter will be set at a maximum of 60 kilometers/hour (km/h) for buses plying the major thoroughfare EDSA, and a maximum of 80 km/h for buses plying expressways such as the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), and Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR Tollway).
Unless a speed limiter is installed, PUBs shall not be registered by the Land Transportation Office or granted a franchise by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, chair of the Senate committee on public services and sponsor of the bill, said the mandatory installation of speed limiters would help reduce the number of speed-related road accidents.
The senator cited data from the Philippine National Police, which showed a rise in the number of road accidents – from 12,875 accidents in 2013, to 15,572 in 2014.
According to a study conducted by the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies in October 2014, PUBs caused the highest number of road accidents.
The study also showed that bus passengers are 6 times more at risk of an accident than private car passengers, and 5 times more than jeepney riders.
"The Speed Limiter Bill is our solution to eliminate killer buses. Let us not wait for another bus accident for us to act on this," Ejercito said.
Under the measure, PUB operators who fail to install the mandatory speed limiters will be fined an amount not exceeding P100,000, and will have their franchise suspended.
Meanwhile, a driver who operates a bus without the speed limiter, or the operator who allows this, will be fined P50,000. The erring driver will also have his license suspended for one month, and the franchise of the PUB suspended for three months for first-time offenders.
Individuals caught tampering with speed limiters will face a P30,000 fine and imprisonment of 6 months but not more than 3 years.
In August 2015, the House of Representatives also passed a similar measure, seeking to require the installation of speed limiters on all public utility vehicles, shuttle services, and covered vehicles such as closed vans, cargo trailers, and tanker trucks. – Katerina Francisco/Rappler.com