The occurrence of road crashes involving road public transport has hit an alarming rate the past few weeks. Only this morning, a bus fell of the Skyway and as of this writing over 20 people have been confirmed dead from the tragic incident. These casualties add to those from other crashes this past month alone. Consider the following recent incidents involving buses:
- Yesterday, more than 50 people were hurt in a crash involving 2 buses in Olongapo City;
- Last November 16, 6 people died in a collision involving 2 buses in Camarines Sur;
- Last November 14, 6 people were killed in a crash along EDSA;
There are countless more people who have died in other crashes involving other vehicles including private cars and vans that have not been reported or were considered minor news in comparison with bigger events like those related to super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) and the powerful earthquake that hit the Cebu-Bohol areas. These are disasters happening everyday. However, unlike the earthquake and typhoon, these are very much predictable and the deaths and injuries preventable if the drivers of the vehicles only exercised caution given the conditions at the time the crashes occurred.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) should examine their approach to punishing erring bus companies. So far, the policy of temporarily suspending the operations of the bus companies involved and investigating the cases of drivers involved in the crashes have not been effective in improving safety as such appear to have had no positive impacts to road crash occurrences in our roads. Given the bad safety records of such bus companies, it is high time to make a strong point by not only suspending these companies but by revoking their franchises. How many more people should die if bus companies do not comply with having their drivers practice safe driving? Their excuses of their drivers being the ones to blame do not hold any water as they have responsibility over them as stipulated in their franchises. The Land Transportation Office (LTO) should also move towards revoking the licenses of these drivers and to never allow these people to handle vehicles again whether as public utility vehicle or private drivers!