Road safety remains as one of the difficult discussions when it comes to legislation. Over the years, only a few have hurdled the legislative process and made it to become laws. Though implementation and results are due for a separate discussion, it is apparent that laws alone without the commitment to their implementation will never realize a safer environment for all road users.
Nevertheless, in 2022, four bills in the Senate have been filed in the 19th Congress. These comprise amendments to existing laws as well as road safety education. Here are the bills:
Senate Bill No. 724 – Amending the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013
This bill aims to amend the Republic Act No. 10586 or the “act penalizing persons driving under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs, and similar substances, and for other purposes.” Introduced by Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, the Senate Bill will amend three sections of the existing law while portions of it not affected will remain in force and effect.
Amendments on Section 10 of the existing law compels the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to deputize traffic enforcers of the Philippine National Police, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and cities and municipalities to ensure full and effective implementation of the law.
Section 14, meanwhile, has an addendum which effectively involves the Department of Education (DepEd) to integrate road safety and drivers’ education into the K-12 curriculum.
Lastly, Section 15 amendments included the requirement of LTO to regularly conduct random terminal inspection and quick random drug tests for public utility drivers. Operators of public utility vehicles whose drivers are found positive for drug use will be made liable under the guidelines of drug-free workplaces of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Senate Bill No. 786 – Proposed Road Safety Education Act
As a spillover legislation from the 18th Congress being refiled, the Senate Bill No. 786 filed by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri aims to establish a road safety curriculum, campaign, and training.
There will be compulsory teaching of road safety and drivers’ education in all primary and secondary schools, and educational institutions. The bill provides that Basic Road Safety and Comprehensive Drivers’ Education will be taught in all schools, whether it is public or private. Furthermore, basic road safety will be integrated in the elementary education curriculum while the drivers’ education will be incorporated in the junior and senior high school curricula.
In addition, public road safety information campaign will be undertaken by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies, in coordination with other government entities and road safety advocates and organizations. The DOTr will also be tasked to develop a road safety manual that must be accessible through their website.
Also, road safety training will be carried out for traffic enforcers to educate them on matters such as traffic violations and apprehension procedures.
Senate Bill No. 954 – Proposed Road Safety and Comprehensive Drivers’ Education Act
The bill filed by Senator Grace Poe aims to institutionalize the mandatory integration of basic road safety and comprehensive drivers’ education in the enhanced basic education curriculum. It will involve the DepEd, Commission on Higher Education, DOTr, LTO, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and the MMDA to formulate and implement the said subjects in basic and higher education.
The funding requirement for this bill, once enacted, will be sourced as a line item under the budget of DepEd under the General Appropriations (national budget). It will also be sourced from the Special Road Safety Fund as created under Republic Act No. 8794.
Senate Bill No. 1514 – Proposed Requirement of Teaching Basic Road Safety and Comprehensive Drivers’ Education
The prevention of increasing incidence and prevalence of deaths and injuries, property damage, and economic losses is the core objective of Senate Bill No. 1514 filed by Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr.
The proposed measure, similar to the previous two bills filed, seeks to include Basic Road Safety and Comprehensive Drivers’ Education to the K-12 program. It cited that most adults have little or no knowledge of basic road safety and traffic rules and regulations.
In terms of funding, the implementation of the bill, once enacted, will be charged from the Road Safety Fund (7.5% of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge).
Every year, bills like these are being filed in Congress whether in the upper house (Senate) or the lower house (House of Representatives). These four primarily aim to further reduce incidence of drunk- and drugged-driving as well as integrate road safety in formal education across all levels.
The most recent legislation which hurdled the legislative process and eventually became a law was the Republic Act No. 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act way back in 2016. Thus, leaders are expected to act on several measures that has been moving back and forth in the Congress and to shepherd these toward becoming laws.
Since then, there are several unique bills filed including that of creating a body that would independently undertake road safety efforts and coordinate with all transport-related instrumentalities. However, considering the limited budget of the government as well as the effort to right-size the bureaucracy, it is likely that road safety, despite its miniscule budget requirement for institutionalization, will remain on the sidelines of national priority.