Lawmakers want motorists to undergo mandatory accident-prevention courses before they are issued a driver's license to reduce the number of road accidents in the Philippines.
Citing a report by the Department of Health, Rep. Irwin Tieng (Party-list, BUHAY) said road accidents are now the fourth leading cause of death in the Philippines.
"Worse, if the trend continues, according to health officials, road accidents could become the leading cause of deaths in the country by the year 2020," Tieng stressed.
Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr. (Party-list, BUHAY) added that statistics gathered by the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group show at least two vehicles in a major highway in the Philippines are involved in an accident every hour.
"All in all, 50 road accidents occur everyday. Verily, these are not small numbers in a country where 78 percent of the population rely on buses, jeepneys, taxis, trains and tricycles for mobility," said Velarde.
In response to these alarming figures, both Velarde and Tieng filed House Bill 5436, which mandates the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to "evaluate, approve and accredit motor vehicle accident prevention courses and require all licensed drivers to undergo such courses before the issuance of their driver's licenses."
Based on the bill, the DOTC secretary must approve an accident-prevention course valid for not more than a two-year period. The bill provides that the curriculum of the course shall at least include but not be limited to the concept of accident preventability, including a discussion on the magnitude of traffic-accident problems, techniques for defensive driving and handling critical situations. The bill also specifies that the course shall include the identification of risks created by a variety of psychological, social and physical factors that can facilitate or inhibit the functions required in driving.
An agency or organization that has been approved and certified by the DOTC secretary to hold a motor-vehicle accident-prevention course may charge a reasonable fee for the program. Should the agency or organization violate the applicable laws and regulations, the DOTC secretary is authorized to suspend the group or revoke the DOTC approval issued to the company.
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