Tougher penalties needed vs. killer drivers

IT is good that Land Transportation Office (LTO) Chief Virginia Torres is open to the proposal by some quarters to increase or upgrade the penalty on drivers who got involved in fatal vehicular accidents.

The proposal to amend the existing law came in the wake of a series of road accidents mostly involving passenger buses resulting to the untimely death of almost a hundred people and wounding of scores of others in barely three month period or from June this year.

Among those who lost their lives in these series of accidents due to the reckless driving of a passenger bus driver was beauty queen Melody Gersbach and two of her companions.

The death of the young beauty queen has prompted some groups and individuals including her mother Marina to ask for tougher law against “killer “drivers.

Marina who visited the LTO office on Monday to follow-up the case of her daughter expressed dismay after learning that the suspect identified as Wilson Pontillas remains at large and that he is entitled to a bail after formal homicide charges are filed against him.

Torres for her part said that she is amenable to amending and making the law tougher in as much as it appears to be outdated and has lost most of its relevance and effectiveness.

“I support the move to amend the law given the fact that these drivers especially those who are in public transport sector have become so reckless to the point that they are totally disregarding the lives and safety of their passengers and the people on the road” Torres said.

She added that most of these bus drivers are not afraid to be involved in vehicular accidents because they know that they can get out of jail easily by posting the required bail especially if they are working for big and well-connected transport firms.

Marina on the other hand said that while she is sad that her daughter has to sacrifice her life just to raise awareness on road safety, she was hoping that her death will not go to naught.

“While it is unfortunate that my daughter has became the poster girl for vehicular accident victims , I am hoping that concerned authorities especially Congress could come up with a law that would impose tougher penalties on these reckless drivers” the mother said in an interview.

Both Assistant Secretary Torres and Marina agree that most of the drivers that got involved in fatal road mishaps could either be high on drugs or were driving under the influence of liquor.

The LTO chief went one step farther by saying that she is also mulling the idea of requiring private emission testing centers to conduct monthly inspections on passenger vehicles especially buses.

The reason behind is to ensure the road worthiness of passenger buses without having to cost the government a single cent.

Indeed, this is the perfect time to amend that obsolete law on reckless driving resulting to homicide.

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