Sen. Escudero urges road board to use funds to promote motorcycle riders' safety

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero is urging the government to utilize the road users’ tax to mount a massive campaign promoting the rights of motorcycle riders on the road following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) discovery that 53 percent of road accident fatalities in the Philippines are motorcycle users.

The campaign, Escudero said, will help promote road courtesy amid observations about motor vehicle drivers’ tendency to take motorcycle riders lightly on the road, acting as if they are superior to their two-wheeled counterparts.

Noting how road courtesy and discipline could prevent accidents on the road, Escudero urged the Road Board to utilize its more than P1 billion Special Road Safety Fund for 2015 to develop road reminders on the importance of sharing the road with motorcycle riders.

Escudero said the Road Board, which oversees the use of funds collected from the motor vehicle users’ charge (MVUC) or the road user’s tax, should step up its media campaign to create a better awareness of the rights of motorcyclists on the road, with motorized 2- and 3-wheelers now outnumbering cars in the country.

Of the 7,690,038 registered vehicles in 2013, the WHO report said 4,250,667 were motorized 2- and 3-wheelers; 3,009,116 were 4-wheeled light vehicles; 358,445 heavy trucks; and 31,665 buses.

Republic Act 8794 or the Road User’s Tax Law mandates that 7.5 percent of the MVUC collected by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) should go to a special road safety fund.

“This is similar to the campaign being done in other countries. We have to remind our motorists to respect the rights of their fellow motorists especially motorcycle riders while on the road,” said Escudero, who is leading all vice-presidential voter preference surveys.

“At the same time, we also have to educate motorcycle riders to respect their fellow motorists’ rights by not weaving in and out of the lanes. The riders also have to be warned against having a risk-taking behavior which include riding without protective gears as well as riding under the influence of alcohol,” he added.

The veteran lawmaker made the proposal as he expressed alarm over the WHO’s findings in its Global Status Report on Road Safety for 2015 that riders 2- or 3-wheelers topped the list of road user deaths in 2013.

According to the study based on the 2013 Traffic Accident Recording and Analysis System of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), pedestrians made up 19 percent of the road user deaths; drivers of 4-wheeled cars and light vehicles (14 percent) and their passengers (11 percent); and cyclists (2 percent).

In the study, the WHO estimated the road user deaths in the Philippines at 10,379.

Escudero earlier filed Senate Bill No. 2886, or ”An Act Regulating Street and Road Signs, Waiting Sheds, Speed Bumps, Sidewalks, Pavements, Streetlights and Other Similar Infrastructures” in a bid to improve road conditions in the country.

The proposed measure mandates the DPWH to set specific standards and measurements for all road infrastructures such as road signs, streetlights, pavement markings, waiting sheds, sidewalks and speed bumps across the country.

Escudero, currently the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said it is important for the DPWH to provide reliable road instructions to motorists not only to promote safety but also to advance aesthetics throughout the country’s thoroughfares.


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