Espinoza: Educating the drivers!

Free Zone

IT'S better late than never. The Land Transportation Office's (LTO) launching of the Driver's Education Center (DEC) is envisioned as the lasting solution to the problem of the abusive and/or ignorant motor vehicle drivers of the traffic laws, rules and regulations as provided for in Republic Act (RA) 4136, otherwise known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

I said it's better late than never, quoting in English the Spanish saying "mas vale tarde que nunca," because this government agency should have done this program a long time ago that we would have better and disciplined drivers on the road now. But "it is what it is," to quote US President Donald Trump answer's when asked of his take on the hundred thousands of Americans who died of the novel coronavirus.

LTO-Central Visayas Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec revealed, in an interview, that his office will launch the DEC in Cebu, the first in the region that will provide proper education in driving motor vehicles and knowledge of the traffic laws, rules and regulations. The DEC will also offer a driving school for the poor but eligible applicant for driver's license (DL). The fee for LTO's driving school is P300.

One of the causes of the traffic mishaps, serious or not, is the drivers' lack of basic knowledge of the traffic laws, rules and regulations. Years ago, the LTO is one of the much maligned government offices as corrupt that fixers abound that offer DL to applicants like vending candies on the sidewalk. Has this black marked in the LTO been eradicated under Duterte's watch?

The LTO had also accredited 23 private driving schools in Cebu. With these numbers, would we still be surprised if there are still accidents on the road and see those abusive drivers of motorcycles and flashy cars zooming in and out of the lanes on the road? Well, let's just think positive.

At present, an applicant for a DL is required to undergo 15 hours of practical driving lesson from the driving school that will issue the certificate of completion. Aside from the certificate, the applicant is still required to take the written exams at the LTO. Well and good. But just ensure that fixers are not the ones taking the exams for the applicant.

I don't mind being labeled pessimistic. But, how fool proof is the certificate issued by the private driving school? The other question that I would ask the LTO officials is, how trained are the instructors of the private driving schools? I have seen in many occasions where a car of the driving school don't observed basic traffic signs.

As a deputized LTO enforcer years ago, I flagged down in one occasion the car of a driving school driven by a student with the instructor beside her for not observing the YIELD sign in an intersection. In my observation, majority of the drivers don't give a damn on the Yield and Stop signs in intersections without traffic lights.

The practice by abusive and/or ignorant drivers on Stop or Yield sign in unlighted intersections is race through in crossing the intersection with the other motor vehicle that has the prior right to cross. Collision between motor vehicles happens when drivers don't observe the traffic rules and regulations. Collision like this cannot be classified as an accident. It's recklessness of either or both drivers.

The fines imposed under RA 4136 are antiquated. The LTO should ask Congress for its amendment. Abusive drivers would just laugh at these fines. Imposing huge fines for traffic violations could discipline the drivers.


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