MMDA issues new rule to prevent car crashes with cement mixers

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MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino

MANILA, Philippines — It’s now a must for operators of heavy vehicles carrying cement to put up signs warning other motorists to keep a safe distance, a new regulation arising from the accident that killed a pedestrian and injured eight others last week.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Francis Tolentino on Friday signed a memorandum requiring signs that say “Loaded With Cement—Keep Distance” on the sides and rear portion of all cement trucks or cement mixers.

The order takes effect after two weeks and noncompliance carries a fine of P500.

The rule stemmed from the tragedy in Quezon City that killed Marie Cherrie Inzon, a student of Siena College, and injured three other pedestrians and five jeepney passengers on April 23, when a cement mixer lost its brakes and forced its driver to swerve toward an excavation site to make it stop. The victims were pinned down when the mixer fell on its side.

According to the MMDA, at least one major road accident involving cement mixers takes place in the metropolis each week.

In the first quarter of the year, the agency recorded 1,512 accidents involving heavy vehicles, which injured 268 people and killed 12, seven of whom were pedestrians.

“Cement truck drivers are usually in a hurry to reach the construction sites when they are carrying wet cement, and this raises the risks they pose on other road users,” Tolentino noted in a statement.

Shortly after the April 23 accident, the MMDA proposed the reclassification of cement mixers from ordinary trucks to “dangerous vehicles,’’ the latter required to have specially trained drivers and safety features like highly visible signs and lighting, among others.

Motorists tailing such vehicles should keep a distance of at least 50 feet, Tolentino said.

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