Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mandatory Helmet Bill pushed at Senate by Sen. Revilla

A measure obligating all motorcycle drivers to wear a standard quality helmet is now being pushed in the Senate.

According to Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., the measure, Senate Bill 1863, is a bid to implement safe motorcycle riding nationwide and said he hopes that the Mandatory Helmet Bill would be approved.

Citing figures issued by the Metro Manila Development Authority Traffic Operations Center (MMDA-TOC) from January to December 2008, Revilla said motorcycles have the highest fatality rate with 106 motorcycles involved, or 28.19 percent of the total fatal accidents.

Likewise, a report of the Traffic Management Group (TMG) showed that out of the total 14,202 traffic accidents in year 2004, 3,010 or 21 percent involved motorcycles. The figures rose to 24 percent or 2,798 out of 11,425 accidents in 2005 and in the first two months of 2006, the TMG recorded a total of 485 motorcycle accidents out of the total 1,364 accidents, which accounted for 35 percent of the total traffic accidents.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that wearing a helmet is the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities resulting from motorcycle crashes. Wearing a helmet has been shown to decrease the risk and severity of injuries among motorcyclists by about 70 percent and the likelihood of deaths by almost 40 percent,” Revilla, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, pointed out.

Revilla said Thailand gained a 40 percent reduction in head injuries among motorcyclists and a 24 percent drop in motorcycle deaths after it passed a legislation in the north-eastern province of Khon Kaen to make helmet use mandatory.

“There is also a considerable long list of other countries which have laws on mandatory helmet use, such as the US, Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and 31 others. The first motorcycle helmet use law in the world took effect on January 1, 1961, in Victoria, Australia,” Revilla said.

The bill provides all motorcycle riders, including its back rider, to wear a standard quality helmets while driving, whether on a long or short drive any time of the day and in any type of road or highway.

Tricycle drivers are exempted from this bill.

“Some camps argue that a legislative enactment is no longer necessary, and that what is needed is simply a strengthened motorcycle safety education program for riders to consider their own safety,” he said.

“They assert that enough space must be given for self-regulation. If we follow this argument, then we should not have passed the seatbelt law which has the same purpose and intent of this proposal,” Revilla stressed.

No comments: