Nueva Ecija crash bus engine was 30 years old – DOTr

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) disclosed Tuesday, May 16, that the age of engine of the bus that crashed in Nueva Ecija last April was twice the limit on buses, or 30 years old. 

In a Senate hearing on the incident, DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark de Leon said that the bus registration indicates its age to be 11 years old but recent investigation showed its engine was already 30 – twice the 15-year age limit on buses. (READ: Killer buses leave victims in their wake)

"The age of buses should be based on the age of its engine and chassis. Currently, bus age is computed starting from the registration date of the bus," De Leon said in a mix of English and Filipino.

"We are proposing the Motor Vehicle Inspection System because it will really certify that vehicles plying the roads, even public utility vehicles, are roadworthy," he added.

More than 30 people were killed after a Leomarick Trans bus fell into an 80-foot ravine in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija on April 18.

Buses operating more than the allowed age has been a problem of the department.

Last February, a Panda Coach Tourist bus that crashed along Tanay, Rizal, killing 15 lives, was found to be 29 years old.

De Leon said that installing an automated inspection system during registration of vehicles will help rid the country of those not up to standards. (READ: Sotto wants DOTr to ban old, dilapidated buses)

"What the LTO does is only a visual check of the vehicles. Here, devices are being installed to check all the parts of the vehicle – lighting, braking system, suspension system – to really know if your car is roadworthy," said De Leon.

Labor issues

According to Senator Joel Villanueva, another issue that hounds the Nueva Ecija bus crash is the absence of an alternate driver.

"Gaano kahalaga ang labor compliance ng drivers natin?" Villanueva said there should be a cap on the number of hours a driver should drive.

The route from Isabela province to Candon City in Ilocos Sur is estimated to be a 15-hour long trip. (READ: 'Several factors' behind Nueva Ecija bus crash – road safety advocate)

De Leon said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) mandates a maximum of 10 hours per driver. Routes that require more than the said hours should have an alternate driver with them. (WATCH: How do we prevent road traffic crashes?)

With the incident, DOTr recently ordered the lowering of the maximum hours to 6.– Rappler.com

Learn more about Filipinos' safety on the road by visiting the Road Safety Awareness microsite.

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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