January 24, 2018, 1:49 am
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Grim reminders

ROAD accidents, especially those which involve loss of lives, serve as grim reminders of the sad state of the nation’s roads and highways, not to mention the problems of motor vehicle maintenance and discipline of motorists.

Every time there is a major accident, government officials are put on notice how inefficient they are in matters of road maintenance and road safety, in the case of the DPWH and on land transportation regulation in the case of the Department of Transportation and its key agencies, the Land Transportation Office and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. 

The latest road mishap that hit the headlines was that one in a ravine in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija that killed close to 30 persons and injured several others, on Tuesday. Conflicting reports point to either malfunctioning brakes or burst tires.

Police investigators said the bus was designed for 45 passengers, but carried as many as 70 passengers, some of them sitting on the laps of their companions.

This is the second such road accident this year that jolted the public. Earlier in February, a group of college students were having a field trip in Tanay, Rizal when their bus driver lost control in a classic case of human and mechanical error. Fifteen students died and another 40 were injured.

This Panda Coach bus smashed into an electric post and some trees along a curved road, caused by an apparent brake failure. One little-known fact about this incident is that prior to the mishap, the same bus was hired by the same school to transports its teachers, and it already showed signs of malfunction due to poor maintenance.

Bad maintenance of transportation facilities, coupled with the usual I-do-not-care attitude are the key components of road and rail accidents waiting to happen.

The best authorities always do in these cases is to suspend the license or franchise of the erring bus company, help the victims in their hospitalization or burial, give token compensation, and nothing more. It looked like the government is content with just this, without forward planning and strong measures to forestall similar mishaps in the future.

Perhaps the Duterte administration can do something to genuinely prevent accidents of this magnitude, considering its awesome regulatory powers.
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