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Speed limiter law: A paper tiger

It’s a law that remains a worthless piece of  legislation so far.

Embodied  in  Republic Act 10916, the  “Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016” that was passed  despite the objections from the land transport sector was allowed to lapse into law last July 16 by former president Benigno Aquino III.  

But so far, Malacanang has yet to publish its implementing rules and regulations  as a prerequisite.

Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chair of the House committee on transportation and communications, admitted that Congress has yet to receive any communication from government agencies tasked to implement it, namely the Department of Transportation and its attached agency, the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, among others.

“As of now, I know of no final timeline for release of the [Implementing Rules and Regulations],” Sarmiento told the Manila Standard.  “Under the law, the concerned agencies have 60 days from the effectivity of the law to release the IRR.”

Butt Congress will compel the agencies of government tasked to implement the law to act on it at the soonest.

“In the exercise of our oversight function, we will certainly require the agencies comply within the period and to fast-track its promulgation,” he said.

Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas, the principal author of the Speed Limiter Law, renewed his proddings to the  DOTr to immediately draw up the IRR of the “Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016” so that it will become fully operational by the second or third quarter of 2017.

Trenas said that RA 10916 will not only help reduce the number of deadly road accidents caused by over-speeding drivers but  would also help reduce carbon emission and fuel consumption due to over acceleration.

“So many drivers do not know that over acceleration especially in a traffic situation can increase their fuel consumption and their carbon emission.  In the short term, these speed limiters could be an additional cost for the operators but they would save more money in the long run because they can better save fuel and their engines would last longer,” said Trenas, primary author of the Speed Limiter measure.

Under RA 10916, selected public-utility vehicles (PUV), except for taxis, jeepneys and  so-called Transportation Network Vehicles (TNVs), closed commercial vans, cargo haulers, tanker trucks and company shuttles will now be required to be equipped with speed limiter devices so as not to exceed a pre-set speed limit.

Speed limiters are a combination of mechanical, electronic and/or communications devices that prevent motorized vehicles from exceeding a speed limit which would be set by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Trenas said the DOTr, in consultation with relevant agencies  such as  the departments of Science and Technology  and of Trade and Industry as well as the Metro Manila Development Authority  should start putting together the IRR which would include the technical specifications of the device and other terms and conditions necessary for the law’s implementation.    

Once implemented speed limiters  will become a prerequisite for the registration of new PUVs and  other vehicles covered  by RA 10916  at the LTO and to obtain new franchises at the LTFRB. On the other hand, owners of vehicles currently registered and franchised have up to 18 months to comply  once the law has taken effect. 

Trenas has originally authored House Bill 3624, which mandates all bus companies with  franchises to operate public utility buses in the Philippines, operating both city and provincial routes, to install speed limiters on all public utility buses, limiting the maximum speed to 60 kilometers per hour. 

His bill was been consolidated with  similar measures to become House Bill 5911 which mandates the installation of speed limiters on all covered public utility vehicles, including closed vans, hauler or cargo trailer, shuttle services and tanker trucks. The Senate version (Senate Bill 2999) only covers Public Utility Buses (PUB).

Under the new law, the LTO and the LTFRB are mandated to supervise and inspect the installation and setting of the speed limiters, while the Department of Trade and Industry will accredit the manufacturers and installers of the device.

The new law carries a fine of P50,000 will be meted for non-compliance apart from penalties such a one-month driver’s license suspension and/or a three-month vehicle franchise suspension , on the first offense, followed by a three-month driver’s license suspension and/or a six-month vehicle franchise suspension on the second offense.

For the third offense or more, the driver’s license will be revoked and/or the owner or operator’s vehicle franchise will be suspended for one year.

Finally, those found guilty of tampering with a speed limiter will be sentenced to prison from six months to three years, along with a P30,000 fine.

Trenas said it is too premature to say as for the effectiveness of the law to arrest “speed demons” in the streets.

“We cannot measure yet as to how effective the new law is,” Trenas said.  But once it is implemented, he said, “the speed demons would not be forced to drive within the prescribed speed limit, making them safer for other motorists and pedestrians.

“Reckless driving accounts for nearly all accidents involving motor vehicles, particularly public transport such as buses,” he said.

“The primary objective of speed limiter is to institute discipline among drivers, especially in major thoroughfares, such as EDSA,” Trenas said.

Having the measure lapse  into law, Sarmiento  said “the Executive Branch now has the duty to publish it (for it to be effective), promulgate its IRR and implement it.”

He agrees with Trenas on the intent of the measure.  “​If properly implemented, we will have safer trips as overspeeding, which is one of the major causes of road accidents, will now be addressed.”      

He also stressed the need for a strict and firm implementation of the law so as not to defeat its purpose.”

“There must be no collusion between vehicle owners and law enforcers. There must also be an adequate budget to support enforcement activities,” Sarmiento said.​ 

“There must be close inter​-​agency and local government coordination as well to ensure that all covered vehicles plying national, provincial and other roads​ are compliant.  

“​More importantly, there must be a national campaign informing the public of the dangers of overspeeding including the number of deaths due to it and the existence of law mandating the use of speed limiters,” Sarmiento pointed out.

He said Congress will exercise it’s oversight power to ensure that government agencies actually install speed limiters to covered vehicles​. 

“But as to other commercial vehicles that are not covered by the law, their inclusion has to be determined​ by the DOTr. The idea of the law is to mandate and ensure the right speed for vehicles that may cause great injury to its passengers or to third persons (like trucks, buses, etc.)”

Topics: Republic Act 10916 , Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016
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