Drivers asked to take precautions

AS FRONTLINERS are working to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), hospitals and emergency responders are also managing road crash victims.

Despite the global public health crisis, frontliners are asking motorists to drive with precaution, Major Oliver Panabang said that amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in the Summer Capital for close to two months due to the Covid-19 threat, there is a reduced number of vehicles plying along the streets.

“Reduced number of vehicles plying along streets will also reduce the possibility of road crashes but still it’s not 100 percent that there’s no vehicular traffic incident. The more there are vehicles along the road, there is a possibility that there will be a vehicular incident, self-inflicted incident, or collision,” Panabang, also Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Traffic Management Unit chief, said.

The police officer noted based on data, there is a dramatic reduction of road crashes in the city compared to the same period of the previous year.

BCPO Traffic Management Unit data of road crash incidents since the start of the Luzon-wide ECQ to May 8 recorded 115 cases, compared to the same period in 2019 with 513 cases.

BCPO data shows there were ten reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries and one with multiple physical injury.

During the ECQ period, one was died as compared to the same period 2019 with five cases, the lone fatality involved a motorcycle rider who met the accident along Marcos Highway.

Rafael “Paeng” Valencia, president of the Baguio City based 911–on–call together with its close 40 personnel continue to respond to road crashes and emergencies amid the global health crisis.

The 911-on-all incorporated is a pre-hospital, rescue-medical unit first responders of emergencies networked with various government agencies such as the fire department, Philippine National Red Cross, City Disaster Coordinating Council, Office of the Civil Defense, Baguio General Hospital and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Valencia noted amid the ECQ, the team has responded to several vehicular traffic incidents in the city.

On April 17, a month after the ECQ, a flammable LPG tank truck met an accident along Naguilian Road after experiencing mechanical trouble and crashed into a wall.

The driver said the truck came from Bataan and finished delivering fuel in one of the gas stations in the city. Both driver and the passenger incurred injuries.

Valencia added common injuries sustained by victims in road crash include head injuries and fractures.

Road crashes were documented along national roads such as Marcos Highway and Naguilian road, Kennon road and other areas in the city such as Bakakeng Road, Abanao Extension, Brent Road and UP Drive.

Valencia and Panabang acknowledge that the driver’s alertness and observance of safety precautions are important, citing the often-repeated reason for a crash – human error.

Road crashes can also be attributed to drivers unfamiliar with the terrain of the road, driving when under the influence of liquor.

“It is not on mechanical defect, it is up to them, they probably thought they own the roads, there is no limitation in the speed of their vehicles. Others, we don’t know if they are new to the place, they do not know the situation of the roads,” added Valencia in Ilocano.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) approximately 1.35 million people die each year as a result of road traffic crashes.

“Every year the lives of approximately 1.35 million people are cut short as a result of a road traffic crash. Between 20 and 50 million more people suffer non-fatal injuries, with many incurring a disability as a result of their injury,” WHO stated.

WHO added more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

The organization also identifies risk factors such as driving under the influence of alcohol and other psychoactive substances, speeding, nonuse of motorcycle helmets, seat-belts, and child restraints, distractions that can lead to impaired driving, unsafe road infrastructure and unsafe vehicles.

Valencia and Panabang advised motorists to observe proper speeding along roads with fewer vehicles, slowing down when driving and avoid driving when under the influence of liquor.

“Sa road safety concern, matagal na nilang alam pero marami pa rin and hindi nag-iingat. The only way para makaiwas sa ganitong insidente is precautionary measure and discipline in driving that is the key,” Panabang said.

“To our motorists drive defensively, take precautionary measures. It is up to us to discipline ourselves,” Valencia added.


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