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Top Gear Philippines

Public-utility bus

Two lawmakers have filed a bill that seeks to require drivers of public-utility vehicles to possess a Utility Driver's License before they are allowed "to drive any form of public-utility transportation."

"It is about time we introduced an improved system of allowing any person to drive or operate a PUV," said Rep. Juieta Cortuna (A TEACHER party list) who, together with fellow party-list Rep. Mariano Piamonte Jr., filed the Public Utility Driver’s Licensing Act, which "would pave the way toward improving the skills, attitude and safe driving habits of public-utility drivers."

"This is due to the fact that their skills, attitude and driving habits will be considered prior to the issuance of a public-utility driver's license," Piamonte added.

If the bill is passed into law, a PUV driver’s license will only be issued when the applicant has complied with the mandated 15 days of actual driving examination for public-utility trains, five days for public-utility bus and jeepney drivers, and three days for tricycles "that will show the actual safe driving habits of the bus, jeep or tricycle driver applicant."

The bill also requires the PUV driver applicant to provide a certificate of safe driving habits issued by an accredited private driving evaluation entity.

The bill also states that before a driver applicant can be issued a public-utility driver's license, he or she should have signed an insurance agreement with a reliable insurance firm "to compensate damages, injuries or death to passengers or third parties in case of intentional, wrongful, negligent or accidental injuries in the course of driving a utility vehicle."

Of course, the measure mandates the Land Transportation Office to create a special driver's licensing division that will administer the issuance of the public-utility driver's licenses.

Drivers who are caught operating a PUV without the required driver’s license will be penalized with a three-month license suspension and fined P50,000. For violating any traffic regulation, PUV license holders will be slapped with a penalty of three-month license suspension and a fine of P10,000 for the first offense; six-month license suspension and P20,000 fine for the second offense; and one-year license suspension and P50,000 fine for succeeding offenses.

Do you think such a measure would improve the skills and attitude--not to mention the safe driving habits--of our public-utility drivers?

Photo from Ronnie Paras Montemayor

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