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Road safety for motorists

By Jorge Hallare LEGAZPI CITY --- A top official of the Albay Provincial Police Office (PPO) has issued some reminders to motorists on how to avoid road accidents as police records show that the most number of accidents during the past two years occurred in the peak months of April and August, particularly during rush hours. Chief Insp. Arthur Gomez, chief of investigation division and information officer of Albay PPO, said they have recorded 3,604 cases of vehicular accidents in 2015 alone. “Of this number, 854 were recorded in the first quarter and 904 during the second quarter, when the highest number of recorded road accidents happened in April,” he said. Gomez added that in the same year, there were 895 cases recorded during the third quarter, during which the most number of accidents occurred in the month of August. There were 951 cases during the fourth quarter. In 2016, Gomez said, they recorded a total of 3,823 cases of vehicular accidents with the number of accidents also peaking in the months of April and August. “The highest recorded number of road accidents in Albay (during the two-year period) occurred from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., which are the rush hours of the day,” he said. Gomez explained that “distracted driving, non-slowing down of drivers on pedestrian lanes and bad overtaking” were the three major causes of road accidents. He said in the cases of distracted driving, the driver involved were mostly using cellphones for texting or calling or were hearing music using headphones or earphones. Gomez said drivers who do not slow down in pedestrian lanes along intersections, school and church zones and in front of malls also contributed to the rise in road accidents. He added that in certain cases, the drivers involved in accidents often were overtaking haphazardly, especially in the double yellow lanes or in the “no overtaking” signs. “Or the driver would overtake even if there is an oncoming vehicle in the opposite lane,” said Gomez. He added that for the two-year period, their data showed that overspeeding, mechanical problems of the vehicles, and driving under the influence of liquor ranked next in the list of reasons for the road accidents. “Over the same period, there were some 10 cases of road accidents due to stray animals crossing the streets,” noted Gomez. He admitted, however, that the Philippine National Police had been weak in implementing traffic laws; there were insufficient traffic law enforcers and some policemen lacked knowledge on traffic laws and ordinances. Gomez said Albay PPO has recommended the regular conduct of safety education seminars to be spearheaded by local government units and Land Transportation Office that would target the erring drivers. He said they would also work for the strict implementation of existing traffic laws, rules and regulations such as the “no permit, no travel policy,” helmet law and Drunk Driving Act. Gomez said they would assign personnel to enforce ordinances especially during night time and also endorse ordinances regulating and providing additional requirements in procuring motorcycles like driver’s license, motor vehicle OR/CR and safety gears. He said they would aggressively work for these recommendations as during the first quarter of 2017 Albay PPO has already recorded 804 vehicular accidents. Gomez added they “anticipate more road accidents to occur during this month of April” as motorists start traveling to various destinations with the observance of the Holy Week and the start of the summer vacation of students.

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