House bill seeks to make road rules fair to law-abiding drivers
MANILA, Philippines — Iligan Rep. Frederick Siao has filed a bill seeking to revamp the country’s road laws and protect law-abiding drivers from being initially culpable or fully at fault in road accidents.
House Bill No. 1987 or the proposed “Philippine Responsible Driving and Accountability Act” states that the driver of a vehicle would be presumed not fully at fault for an accident if any of the following applies to the situation:
- The victim is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- The victim was not crossing the street at a pedestrian lane or road intersection
- The victim crossed a street or highway instead of using a footbridge
- The victim is a bike rider not wearing protective gear or wearing dark clothing
- The victim is operating a motorcycle, tricycle, or bicycle traveling on a national highway under the minimum speed limit or not on the rightmost lane
- The victim is a driver who did not have right of way
- The driver did not flee the scene of the incident
- The driver was suffering a medical emergency, like a heart attack or stroke, at the time of the accident
- The driver of the other vehicle has non-functional headlights, taillights, or other warning devices
The bill also states that a driver involved in a road accident is presumed initially culpable when:
- The driver flees from the scene of the road safety accident
- The driver was driving at high speed according to recorded eyewitnesses’ accounts taken at the scene of the road safety accident
- The driver had just committed at least one serious traffic violation
- The driver is intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs or prescription medication
- The driver does not have a driver’s license or has an expired driver’s license
- The victim is a child younger than 15 years of age
The proposed measure, meanwhile, considers the following as mitigating circumstances in driving violations:
- Fast driving due to a medical emergency to rush to a hospital or other medical facility for immediate care
- Pursuit of a suspect in a crime who is fleeing or has just fled from the scene of a crime
- Rushing home or to the workplace because of a fire or other disaster
- Serious to gross defects in the design and construction of roads and bridges, and of traffic signs and warnings
“Under current laws and procedures, drivers or motorists in road safety incidents and traffic violations are presumed at fault even when pedestrians and/or other motorists are at fault or also share fault,” Siao pointed out in his bill’s explanatory note.
“This bill seeks to make our laws also fair to the drivers who were not at fault,” he added.
Siao said his proposal could be a clear basis for traffic enforcers and the police in charging anyone of driving offenses like reckless imprudence.
HB 1987 further differentiates various kinds of driving offenses:
- dangerous driving
- reckless driving
- suicidal driving
- terroristic driving
- careless driving
- impaired driving
- irresponsible custody of a vehicle
Only a person in authority or law enforcer who is first on the scene or has a continuing investigative responsibility for the road incident may determine an initial presumption of culpability, according to the bill. This, it added, should be done in writing through a traffic incident report, or orally, with witnesses present. /kga
Read HB 1987 here.
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