Out of touch

WHEN the 17th Congress session ended after 10 months, lawmakers only had four laws to show for it. These are the 2017 national budget, the extension of the franchise of a telco and a TV network, and the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

 Although the revised law took effect this month, Republic Act 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act is not included in the list of accomplishments because it’s an old bill based on the proposal of senators Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Sergio Osmeña III in February 2016, and the similar legislation passed in the House of Representatives in June 2016. It was submitted to former President Benigno Aquino III but lapsed into law when left unsigned.

 The original spirit of the law was to curtail the use of electronic devices by motorists in order to prevent accidents on the road. However, over the years, it mutated into somewhere between lack of foresight and short of stupid.

 We are all for penalizing motorists who use their mobile phones while driving. But taking down the signboards of public utility jeepneys because they will distract the driver?

 There has never been a single incident of a jeepney driver crashing his vehicle because he was distracted by the signboard. Common sense will dictate that they will not do anything that can block their line of sight.

 Now you have passengers, especially if they are not residents of Davao City, complaining about not knowing which jeepney to flag down; or drivers having to slow down to call out to each pedestrian they pass by. Authorities justify the slight learning curve. But it’s silly and a waste of time, especially when the old system works just fine.

 And we haven’t even touched the ridiculous fine yet—you expect the poor driver to pay P5,000 for the first offense for having signboard on the windshield?

 Just goes to show how ridiculously out of touch our lawmakers are, which is understandable because they are not the ones braving the heat of the sun to wait for jeepneys when they go to work in their air-conditioned offices, waited on by their horde of staff and legal aides.

Posted in Opinion