Lawmaker: Bus operators must face criminal raps over accidents, too

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Friday, December 20, 2013

VALENZUELA Representative Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday said that owners and operators of buses and other public utility vehicles should face the same criminal liability as their drivers involved in road accidents do.

Gatchalian said public safety is a shared responsibility between the drivers and the transport operators.

"Drivers may be the ones who are directly accountable in times of accidents, but owners and corporations should also be aware of their responsibility when it comes to public safety," he pointed out.

The neophyte lawmaker made the proposal following the Skyway accident involving a Don Mariano Transit bus wherein 18 people were killed and more than a dozen were injured.

According to the Land Transportation Office (LTO), only a small percentage of Don Mariano Transit Corporation’s fleet has passed the agency's roadworthiness inspection. Defects include malfunctioning lighting system, and worn out tires.

The bus driver involved in the accident has been charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, injuries and damage to property before the Parañaque City Prosecutors' Office.

Gatchalian also said that the Transportation Department should consider a total overhaul of the public transport industry, particularly the land-based sector.

"It's about time to examine realities and face the problems that beset the industry head on. There are serious road-worthiness issues that are being neglected here and routine operations standards that failed to meet customary safety mechanisms," he said.

The lawmaker said operators and transport companies should imitate the "safety culture" adopted in the airline industry where strict safety records are imposed on the carrier companies from fleet maintenance, health checks and developmental trainings. (Sunnex)

Local news

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