TO help minimize road accidents and other land mishaps, Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte yesterday sought to penalize operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) who allow their drivers to continuously drive for 12 hours straight or more.
Drivers guilty of working beyond 12 hours nonstop within a 24-hour period are also penalized under House Bill (HB) 1768 filed by Villafuerte, who said his proposal also aims to encourage self-discipline among Filipinos.
The bill also seeks to penalize companies or institutions that allow their drivers to drive on duty without rest and driving shifts.
“One factor of road accidents is driver fatigue—more specifically, drowsiness. Long drives can be especially dangerous as drivers are prone to doze off and lose concentration, mostly during night,” Villafuerte said in HB 1768 in underscoring the need to swiftly approve his proposal.
Passenger buses are especially prone to this dangerous practice as they cater to popular tourist destinations that are at least 6 to 13 hours away by land transportation from Metro Manila, said Villafuerte who represents the second district of Camarines Sur.
For drivers operating a motor vehicle beyond the allowable 12 hours, a first offense under the bill will lead to the suspension of the driver’s license for up to one year.
A second offense is penalized with the suspension of driver’s license for one to two years and a fine of P50,000; while a third offense will mean the suspension of the driver’s license for two to three years and prohibition from applying for a new driver’s license for two years.
The owner of the vehicle, meanwhile, will be fined P20,000 to P50,000 along with the suspension of one’s franchise or permit for PUVs and commercial transport vehicles for one to two years if he or she violates the provisions of HB No. 1768 for the first time.
A second offense by the owner or operator is punishable by a fine of P50,000 to P75,000 and the suspension of one’s franchise or permit for PUVs and commercial transport vehicles for two to three years.
Strike three will lead to a fine of P80,000 to P100,000, the suspension of one’s franchise or permit for PUVs and commercial transport vehicles for two to three years, and prohibition from applying for a new franchise or permit for two years.
Under HB 1768, meanwhile, the travel by land of a person or persons and transport of goods for trips exceeding 12 hours from the point of origin to end of destinations shall be allowed, provided that the motor vehicle is operated by drivers in shifting schedules during duty.
Villafuerte said his bill mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to work with the Land Transportation Authority (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the private sector, and local government units (LGUs), in crafting the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of this proposed law.
The deputy speaker has also filed another transport-related measure—HB 4652—that wants transport authorities to legalize the services of motorcycles-for-hire as public utility vehicles (PUV), and put in place measures to ensure the safety of their passengers, amid the increasing popularity of ride-hailing services like Angkas.
In filing HB 4652, Villafuerte said the first order of business for the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is to require motorcycle service providers to obtain insurance coverage for their drivers and their passengers as well as insurance to cover third-party liabilities.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in turn, is mandated to prescribe the routes and require the establishment of terminals for these motorcycles, Villafuerte said.