Editorial: Of speed limits and the value of life

-A A +A

Thursday, February 13, 2014


THERE is still that nagging frustration over the incident that saw a Florida Bus unit fall off a ravine from the highway in Bontoc, Mt. Province last February 7 killing at least 15, including activist comedian Tado Jimenez, two foreigners, and father of two David "Debid" Sicam.

This is not the first, this will not be the last. The frustration emanates from the fact that the most that government has ever done was file charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide or multiple homicide, and that is it. As if one life of a driver, himself a victim, will ever compensate for the loss of many others.

Those who have travelled through these highways and byways know how treacherous the roads are. You can't live in the mountains and expect smooth, flat highways. All roads in the mountains will twist and turn and go up and down. That's the natural contour of mountains. Thus, except for that one other unbelievable bus that came flying off the skyway, most accidents of these kinds involve mountain roads. Like the ones in Cebu, that has likewise taken several lives.

Maybe because these mountain roads are normally travelled by the poor and lowly such that no matter how many lives have already been taken, no one is really giving a hoot beyond just complying with the procedures: to file cases of reckless imprudence. Except that this time, there are personalities involved and lowlanders who have a host of friends who are all crying in frustration.

But like any tragedy, the frustration and anger will soon fade, and with it, the concern to do something... until one other tragedy of a similar kind happens.

In Davao City, many are railing against the super slow 30kph maximum speed limit downtown and 60kph maximum speed limit in the outer peripheries. Just as many are getting used to the pace and are just adjusting their lives and schedules around it. The reason for this is valid: the number of road accidents involving uso-uso passenger jeepneys that have been killing many.

The crackdown on uso-uso was not as effective, since all that the drivers and operators did was lie low and then hit the streets again when the watchers are not looking. The accidents repeated themselves, the uso-uso drivers sued, the operators still scot-free, and the victims long dead.

Came the maximum speed limit and everybody slowed down, making those exceeding the speed limits stick out. Going by that adage of in the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king, we can say that in the land of sloths, the turtle is fast. It's not traveling that kills. It's the speed. Therefore, the answer is in the speed.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board can suspend as many franchises as it has issued, the police can file as many charges as they want to, but for as long as there are speeding vehicles up there in roads that are twisting and turning along ravines and crests, the risk of accidents remains.

But of course, like any real solution, the challenge is in the will and persistence to implement. Are all government units willing to persistently keep an eye out for speeding vehicles? We can almost hear the grunts and groans and mumbles of people saying, that is so hard to do. And because you think it is, then it will be. We're okay here with our 30kph maximum speed downtown.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 13, 2014.

Opinion

DISCLAIMER: Sun.Star website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessary reflect the views of the Sun.Star management and its affiliates. Sun.Star reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules: Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent and respectful. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!
Holy Week 2014
Marginal Lives

FOREX: US$ 1.00 = PhP 44.420

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Philippine Lotto Results

Gamesort iconCombinations
6Digit7-2-0-8-1-6
Swertres Lotto 11AM8-9-8
Swertres Lotto 4PM4-5-2
Swertres Lotto 9PM6-0-7
EZ2 Lotto 9PM04-02

Today's front page

Sun.Star Davao front page for April 20, 2014

Other front pages

Sun.Star Jobs
  • SunStar Celebrity
  • Pacman blog
  • Sinulog
  • tell it to sunstar
  • Philippine Polls
  • Sun.Star Zup!
  • Pnoy
  • Sunstar Multimedia
  • goodearth
  • Festivals
  • Obituary
  • ePaper
  • Filipino Abroad
  • Calamity Report
  • Habemus Papam
  • Technology