05 September 2008

Philippines' Top Ten Traffic Violations

Source: LTO

I highlighted #1 and #6 because I think they are the most dangerous of all the violations listed.

For a long time that other countries were already seeing the benefits of buckling up while driving, the Philippines had no seat belt law. Yes, cars sold here then were not equipped with seat belts. It was rare to see a car or any transport vehicle with a seat belt, and if ever they had one, both drivers and passengers here either ignored them or had them removed. They were treated as impediments to driving, and for the Filipino who gets a kick out of driving, those seat belts hindered the way he drives.

It was only 8 years ago, when the Philippines enforced the Seat Belt Law, or RA 8750. Also, this seat belt law is useless when it came to jeepneys. Tell me, have you seen a jeepney with seatbelts --- both for the driver and its passengers?

Even in buses, taxis, FX vehicles, or V-Hires for those in Visayas and Mindanao, no one wears a seat belt. Foreigners and tourists visiting the country might find this amazing. But for us, it has always been like this.

Old habits die hard.

That explains why it is the number 1 traffic violation. Filipino drivers are not used to it; they're even bothered by it, I bet.

Seat belts protect against injury and death. In an accident, 3-point safety-belt restraints (lap belt plus shoulder-to-hip belt) have been shown to protect internal organs and the potential twisting of the pelvis. In a forceful crash, it prevents the driver from being thrown against the steering wheel or the windshield.

The foolish Filipino driver does not care about accidents; he only loves to drive. With a fatalistic view, he thinks that when he encounters an accident and dies, it was meant to be.

#6 is also worth discussing. The student drivers --- always yearning to drive. Most of them are young and impatient. Too impatient to wait for their valid driver's license. If they happen to belong to wealthy families, their frequent reason for driving is to show off their racy cars either to friends or to girls they'd like to woo. In doing so, they frequently figure in road accidents and other troubles.

Driving in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart. Believe me, it is a wild jungle out there. The rising gas prices have not tamed the safety-averse Filipino driver.
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