IN THE recent road mishaps that placed Cebu in the headlines of the country’s major dailies and TV networks, one can argue about the law of averages.

The law of averages, of course, is not a law but merely an idea based on a statistical principle, but claiming that such a “law” has caught up on us can be intriguing.

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However, probability (a major road mishap will probably occur in a given period of time considering the number of vehicles

plying provincial routes) does not explain the frequency of the recent accidents and their viciousness.

It’s more likely, therefore, that the failings of concerned government agencies and operators of public utility vehicles, not the law of averages, are the ones catching up on us.

Perception

Consider: agencies like the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) easily spot violations of rules by operators and drivers of firms involved in a major accident---although only after the fact (during probe of a mishap).

In the most recent accident in Toledo City, LTO has raised the possibility the concerned bus was operating without a certificate of public convenience.

That, however, is less of a concern than the competence of drivers and the condition of vehicles conveying hundreds of passengers in the province daily.

That concern has led to calls to ground all public utility buses to check both the condition of the vehicles and the competence of the drivers plying the provincial routes.

Payback

The calls, while logical, strike at the very core of the problems involving the country’s public transportation sector.

The idea of grounding all buses for safety purposes only sounds compelling because of the perception that agencies like the LTFRB and the LTO have been remiss in their job, which is precisely to ensure that public utility vehicles plying provincial routes are in good condition and their drivers are competent.

And to be fair, there’s also the belief that operators of public utility vehicles have been violating rules because of the profit motive.

As long as all the major players in the transport sector refuse to shape up, their failings and/or corrupt acts, not the law of averages, will again catch up on us.