Not roadworthy

HPG: Old vehicles top reason of fatal road crashes

Mechanical error is the top cause of fatal road mishaps in Davao Region followed by driver’s negligence, data from the Highway Patrol Group in the region revealed.

Sr. Insp. Pedro Campomanes, the chief of the Intelligence Division at the HPG, said that the prevalence of vehicles that are not road-worthy is always a top concern for their agency.

“As what we can see on our actual investigation, most of the vehicles involved in fatal accidents were quite old and dilapidated so the tendency is that their brakes were already damaged,” he said.
The most common cause of human error is driver’s fatigue.

“Others came from a long drive and their bodies could no longer take the exhaustion of continuous driving,” he added.

Data from the Traffic Group revealed an increase of 32.83% in the number of road incidents from January to May this year against the same period last year.

This year, the agency recorded 7,447 cases compared to the 5,002 last year.

The most common violations were reckless driving, use of mobile devices while behind the wheel, and speeding.

Meanwhile, based on the record of the HPG, they recorded three fatal mishaps involving multiple casualties in 2016. One on March 25 when an Isuzu Elf truck malfunctioned in Barangay Santiago, Caraga, Davao Oriental; another on June 10 in Sitio Waywayan, Barangay Taguibo, Mati City when a truck’s brake malfunctioned resulting in the death of four children.

On Oct. 11 of the same year, an Isuzu truck fell in a ravine along Diversion road in Barangay Langub.
Last year, only one fatal crash happened in Bunawan when a PUV van slammed into a truck when the driver tried to overtake the vehicle in front. Ten passengers were killed and another eight were injured in the incident.

In the first six months of 2018, the HPG already recorded two fatal road incidents. One in Barangay Cogon on April 16 and another on June 3 when the Hino utility vehicle owned by Franklin Baker slammed into a 10-wheeler truck when the driver overshot a turn in a blind curve in Sitio Lantawan, Barangay Astorga, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur killing 14 individuals and wounding four others.

“Our advice to the motorists, especially traversing along the road at night time or dawn, is that they should be alert always,” he said. “If they feel tired, they can pull over the shoulder and rest or sleep for a moment.”

He also said that speeding is also one of the major contributory factors in fatal road mishaps. This is the reason why the HPG has purchased 11 speed guns to implement the anti-speeding ordinance of Davao City.

However, for now, only four are being used and these gadgets are limited within the bounds of Davao City.

Campomanes said they are working with the other local government units to also pass local ordinances setting the speed limit along highways. Tagum City already prohibits vehicles from speeding past 80 kilometers per hour within its territory.

In February this year, the Department of Transportation introduced the Data for Road Incident Visualization Evaluation and Reporting or Driver.

It’s a project implemented along with the World Bank in order to create big data analytics on drivers’ behavior and tendencies to help local government craft practical policies to curb road collisions and crashes, congestion, and crimes.

The HPG is a national support unit of the PNP, tasked to implement RA 10883 (Anti-Carnapping Law) and the RA 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, specifically on the regulation of colorum vehicles, as well as assistance in the implementation of the traffic rules.

“We are really trying our best to ensure zero fatal crashes,” he said. “We urge them to always be alert and safe because nobody is immune from accidents.”