December 12, 2017, 12:15 pm
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The burden of unsafe roads

DO you know that every day, 28 Filipinos die due to road crashes? That’s more than one person every hour.

That’s according to the World Health Organization’s 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety.

An estimated 2.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product is lost to road crashes. That means the Philippines lost about P396.1 billion to road crashes in 2016. That’s about P1.1 billion daily.

The numbers speak for themselves: Road crashes are a public health and development crisis that will worsen unless action is taken.

Yet road crashes are preventable. It’s not a disease like cancer that afflicts some people and not much that they can do about it.

Yesterday, VERA Files held a forum on “Media as Partner in Road A Worrying Road Safety Situation. One of the guests was Sen. J.V Ejercito, vice-chair of the Senate Committee Public Services and chair of the Senate Committee.

Ejercito authored the Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016. He is also the author of three road safety-legislations under deliberation: SB1446 (Anti-Overloading Act of 2017); SB 1457 (The Dash Cam Law) and SB 1447 (Child Safety in Motor Vehicles Act).

Ira Panganiban, publisher-editor of Wheels Magazine reported on what Ejercito discussed during the forum:

“This is going to sound like a television replay of a series we have been watching for the last ten years. But it needs repeating if only to remind everyone of the gravity of this issue.

“Road crashes in the Philippines have grown exponentially in the last ten years since 2006. This according to figures presented by Senator JV Ejercito at the “Forum on Road Safety Policies and Enforcement.”

“In 2006, the country registered 6,869 deaths, by 2015 this figure has reached 10,012, an astounding 146 percent increase in only 10-years. The annual figures after 2006 have never gone below the 8,000 figure.

“In Metro Manila alone, one person is killed by a road crash every 17 hours. Also, an average of 43 Filipinos die every month and about 509 people die every year. This led the Department of Health to declare that road crashes are the leading cause of deaths in the Philippines.

“In focus, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said 56% of road traffic fatalities in the Philippines are due motorcycle injuries. Sen. Ejercito said since 2010, motorcycle riders have been the top victim of road crashes. In fact, the Land Transportation Office said that in 2014, of the 8-million registered motor vehicle nationwide, 4.5 million of this are motorcycles. This figure would probably be almost double by now after the motorcycle industry declared an over one million sales for the years 2015-2017.

“Globally, the World Health Organization has reported that road traffic injury is the top cause of death among 15-19 year old kids. About 1.2 million are killed worldwide every and more than 50 million are injured.

“Measures are being taken to address this situation especially in legislation according to Senator Ejercito. For starters, they have passed the Speed Limiter Act of 2016 or RA 10916, a law authored by Ejercito. The senator also enumerated some bills to further strengthen road safety like the creation of a National Transportation Safety Board (SB 1357),the Anti-Overloading Act of 2017 (SB 1446), the Dash Cam Law (SB 1457), and the Child Safety in Motor Vehicle Act of 2017 (SB 1447).

“But all of these have been presented to the public repeatedly for years now and yet the deaths and injuries keep rising. Even the laws are plenty and yet there seem to be almost no enforcement.

“A violent death is very traumatic to a family, and all road crash fatalities experience a violent death. We need to do something about this. Because according to the very words of Senator JV Ejercito “we have a worrying road safety situation in the Philippines.”
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