A PANEL in the House of Representatives has backed a measure mandating motorcycle drivers and operators to automatically turn on their headlights as soon as they start their motorcycle engines, and to maintain their headlights on while their motorcycles are running on all roads at all hours of the day and night.
House Bill 1318 or the proposed “Mandatory Automatic Headlights On for Motorcycles Act,” authored by Buhay party-list Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde, Jr., will be soon referred for approval in plenary following its passage at the House committee on transportation.
According to the panel chairman, Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, said the bill’s passage was necessary as it would enforce a low-cost method to reduce road crashes and prevent day-time and night-time head-on, front-corner, and other forms of collision by increasing motorcycle conspicuousness and visibility.
In filing the bill, Velarde acknowledged the policy of the State to secure and safeguard passengers, drivers and operators of motorcycles from vehicular accidents.
Towards this end, the State shall pursue a more proactive and preventive approach for their safety.
The bill requires motorcycle drivers and operators to automatically turn on their headlights as soon as they start their motorcycle engines and to maintain their headlights on at all hours of the day and night while their motorcycles are running on all roads.
It requires motorcycle manufacturers, assemblers, and distributors to ensure the Automatic Headlights On System, mechanism or device, are properly installed before the distribution and sale of the said motorcycles, as determined and prescribed by the Implementing Rules and Regulations pursuant to the Act.
Moreover, it mandates that every motorcycle shall be equipped with one to two working headlights. Every motorcycle manufactured or imported into or within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines when this Act takes effect, must have a headlight which automatically turns on when the engine of the motorcycle is started and which must remain lighted as long as the engine is running.
Under the measure, it shall be unlawful for any person to import or cause the importation of any motorcycle without appropriate and operational Automatic Headlights On System, mechanism or device as required herein and in accordance with the Implementing Rules and Regulations which shall be issued pursuant to the Act.
Whether the motorcycle is equipped with single beam or multiple beam headlights, the headlights must be of sufficient intensity to reveal a person or a vehicle at any distance of not less than 30.5 meters when the motorcycle is operated at any speed less than 40.225 kilometers per hour, and at any distance of not less than 61 meters when operated at a speed of 40.225 to 56.315 kilometers per hour,and a distance of 91.5 meters when operated at a speed greater than 56.315 kilometers per hour, Velarde said.
If the motorcycle has a multi-beam headlight, the upper beam must meet the minimum requirement set forth above.
If there is a single beam headlight, it must be aimed so that when the motorcycle is loaded, none of the high intensity portion of the light, at a distance of 7.625 meters ahead, will project higher than the level of the center of the lamp from which it comes.
The bill also provides that no new motorcycle shall be allowed initial registration and succeeding renewal of registration unless it is equipped with the necessary Automatic Headlights On System, mechanism or device.
The Land Transportation Office shall impose fines against drivers, operators, owners of motorcycles, their manufacturers, assemblers, importers and/or distributors for any violation of the Act.
The bill also provides a fine ranging from P1,000 to P2,000 for the first violation on any riding motorist, driver, owner or operator who failed to use headlights; a fine of P2,500 to P3,000 for the second violation; and a minimum fine of P3,500 to P5,000 and suspension of driver’s license for a period of one month for the third and succeeding violations.
Meanwhile, for the first violation, a fine of P5,000 to P10,000 and suspension of the license to manufacture, assemble, import or distribute for a period of one year shall be imposed on any manufacturer, assembler, importer and distributor for every motorcycle unit without a working headlight and/or an Automatic Headlight On System, mechanism or device; a fine of P10,000 to P20,000 and suspension of the license to manufacture, assemble, import or distribute for a period of two years, for the second violation; and fine of P50,000 and suspension of the license to manufacture, assemble, import or distribute for a period of five years, for the third violation.
Engineer Emilio Llavor of the MMDA’s Head Road Safety Unit informed the committee that last year, there were 178 motorcycle riders who died and 7,905 injured in different road accidents. There were also 37 passengers killed and 2,292 injured, and 32 pedestrians killed and 1,185 injured.