Speed limiters can reduce road crashes and save lives

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    A speed limiter is something that has been around for many years. In fact, the first time I experienced riding in a taxi with a speed limiter was in 1989 on a trip to Singapore. While we were on the highway from the airport, I heard a strange, irritating sound in the cab and I asked the driver what it was. The driver said his unit had a speed limiter which limited his speed to just 80 kph. If he reached the maximum speed, the sound was activated and he had to slow to silence the sound.

    Even then, I understood that a speed limiter could contribute to safer driving especially for public utility vehicles like buses, jeepneys, taxis and even for private fleet of trucks, shuttles and cars. But decades passed and I never heard of it in the Philippines despite numerous crashes on our city and provincial roads.

    In an informal media get together, aptly tagged “Usapang Speed Limiter,” Thursday last week, Benedict Go, president of Speed Limiter Ph, and the motoring writers had an interesting discussions on the law requiring mandatory installation of speed limiter in public utility and certain types of vehicles. It is known as Republic Act no. 20916 or the Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016.

    Pursuant to Section 8 of RA 10916, otherwise known as the “Road Speed Limiter Act of 2016”, the Implementing Rules and Regulations have been promulgated by the Department of Transportation (DOTr), in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

    The IRR begins with “It is hereby declared the policy of the State to maintain at all times the safety and protection of the public. Toward this end, it shall pursue a more proactive and preventive approach to secure the safety of passengers, and the public in general on roads and highways. It shall implement measures to safeguard them from any speed – related road crashes which cause death, injury, and/or damage to properties.”

    The law now requires the mandatory installation of a speed limiter to public utility vehicles (PUVs), and certain types of vehicles such as closed vans, haulers, cargo trucks, shuttle services, tanker trucks, and such other vehicles as may be identified and included by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for purposes of implementing RA No. 10916.

    Go said his company has installed more than 1,000 speed limiters on trucks and buses.

    The latest to avail of the safety device is Isuzu Philippines Corporation which recently turned over the initial 15 modernized jeepneys to the Senate Employees Transport Cooperative. The modern  jeepneys have been installed with the speed limiter by Speed Limiter Ph, the exclusive distributor of the internationally accepted device from Great Britain.

    A speed limiter is a device that electronically controls the top speed of a vehicle, either to comply with government legislation or the vehicle owner’s requirements, without affecting any other aspect of the vehicle’s operation.

    Many countries have introduced legislation and numerous companies have taken the decision to fit Speed Limiters. This has resulted in reduction of road crashes and deaths. Studies  also showed the device can contribute to better fuel savings and lower emissions by as much as 20 percent. A speed limiter can be set from 50 kph to 100 kph. Fuel delivery trucks are usually fitted with slower speed limits.

    Go said there are two types of speed limiters. The Drive-by-write system has the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) connected to the speed signal (electronic speedometer, ABS or mechanical sensor) of the vehicle and receives frequency signals while the vehicle is moving. At a pre-set frequency, for example 80km/h, the ECU transmits a signal to the Engine Management System which then holds the vehicle at a set speed.

    The System 80 speed control is one of the most versatile of its type, being suitable for small vehicles through to large trucks with mechanical throttle linkage. It is available in both diesel and petrol versions and offers top speed control, automatic dual speed and digital self-diagnostic testing.

    There are still several work to be done for the IRR to be fully implemented such as the training of Law Enforcement Agencies on the rules, the accreditation of more speed limiter distributors and the training of the device’s installers and technicians nationwide.

    The speed limiter may cost from under P20,000 to P50,000 based on the vehicle type but Go said the costs would be minimal considering the benefits that can be derived in terms of passengers’ safety  and overall safety on the road.

    Speeding kills. PNP records show there were 12,620 road crash fatalities in the country the last two years and there are 10 accidents daily involving buses in Metro Manila alone.

    The ball now is in the hands of the implementing government agencies and the cooperation of public vehicle operators and private vehicle owners. The faster the speed limiters are installed in vehicles covered by the law, the safer it is for commuters and other road users.

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