When we think of the transportation system in the Philippines, a lot of things such as malfunctions of rail transit system and traffic jams in the Metro come to mind.
Though the government might be giving enough priority to these issues, there are far more concerning matters that also need to be addressed: the safety of pedestrians and motorists.
News reports about road accidents happen almost every day, reaching the point where not hearing it on the news becomes unusual. In fact, according to World Health Organization, road accidents have become primarily the cause of death around the globe in 2015.
In the Philippines, motorcycle riders are a leading party involved in road fatalities, making them the most vulnerable to severe injuries or even death due to lack of body protection.
Although it is written in Republic Act No. 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009 that motorcycle drivers and riders are required to wear helmets while on the road, their involvement in such mishaps comes not much of a surprise.
The said act does not include a requirement for correct and proper usage of helmets. It does not also require the need for a properly-sized head protection to ensure riders' and drivers' safety.
More so, the said law does not cover electronic bicycles, and over-speeding has its contribution to road accidents. Its dangers are recognized through the Land Transportation Code or Republic Act No 4136 which imposes speed limits on country roads, boulevards, city and municipal streets, and crowded streets.
Under the law, the given speed limit should be followed harmoniously nationwide. But since it was enacted decades ago, the law does not equate to the current needs of the roads.
Local government units should impose a speed limit in their respected areas since they know the appropriate measures and risks of the roads in their areas.
The lack of breathalyzers of Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the lack of enforcers of Metropolitan Manila Development Agency (MMDA) to implement the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Act of 2013 or Republic Act No. 10586, which prohibits motorists from driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other dangerous substances, hinder to strictly implement the Act.
In other countries, once a pedestrian stepped on the ‘zebra crossing’, all vehicles must stop and give way. This practice prioritizes the right of the pedestrians to cross the road safely.
But in the Philippines, pedestrians are the ones who have to adjust and give way to vehicles especially when the traffic light turns green.
The transportation system and road safety in the country may be appalling, but avoiding recklessness and raising awareness in ourselves is one step closer to achieving the long-term goal of safe traveling.