Motorists fear confusion on helmet law
TACLOBAN CITY-Motorists and traffic enforcers will surely clash by the time the country’s helmet law will be implemented effective August 1 this year.
This is the view by one motor riding enthusiast in the region, Dariel Sabay, adding that it would be difficult for such law to be put into action at once because of the proliferation of counterfeit and substandard helmets anywhere in the country.
”Although the law’s motive is very good for the public, yet I am doubtful that our government can seriously implement this given the chance that the market is flooded with cheap and substandard helmets plus it seems that the people are not thoroughly being informed on this.”
He added that having a standard helmet as required by law would be costly for ordinary motorist as its price ranges from P 2,000-P2,500, not to mention that each of the back riders has to have their own helmets as well.
His reaction is also shared by his fellow riders.
Implementing guidelines of the helmet law or RA 10054 which was signed by then President Gloria Arroyo in March 2010 specify that all motorcycle riders, including drivers and back riders, shall at all times wear standard protective motorcycle helmets while driving, whether long or short drives, in any type of road and highway.
Standard protective motorcycle helmets are appropriate types of helmets for motorcycle riders that comply with the specifications issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Only new motorcycle helmet that bears the Philippine Standard (PS) mark or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) of the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) is allowed to be used by a motorist.
In a phone interview with Express, DTI regional standard officer Engr. Socrates Madeja said that they have found out that only few of the dealers and establishments have standard type of helmets here in the city.
Based on their on-the-spot check up, he roughly estimates that only 5% of the dealers have standard and quality helmets.
“We, however, invited those dealers in a dialogue and they expressed their commitment to replace their helmets with the standard ones,” he said.
He added that for the past several months they have been sending notices to the dealers and establishment to check the quality of their helmets in reference to the law.
Meanwhile ,Transportation Regulation Officer in the region Mario Cordero said that he is afraid that said helmet law will not be fully carried out at once on its scheduled date as they are still finalizing certain concerns with DTI on the helmet specifications.
”We still have to meet with the DTI to clear some issues on what is really the approved “standard” helmet, whether full-faced or not, this so as not to sow confusion to the public,” he said.
However, he added that they are ready for their operation in manning the roads once they’ll get the go signal.
Under the said law, violators shall be punished with a fine ofP1,500 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense; P5,000 for the third offense; and P10,000 plus confiscation of the driver’s license for the fourth and succeeding offenses.
Any seller and/or dealer who sells helmets without PS or ICC mark shall be punished with a fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P20,000.
Accordingly PS or ICC marks are issued by BPS after the compliance of its standards they set to every seller and/or dealer every time a new motorcycle unit is purchased and which the purchaser may buy at his option.
Anyone who uses, sells and distributes substandard motorcycle helmets or tampers, forges and imitates the PS and ICC certificates in the helmet will also be dealt with penalties .
As this develops, road accidents remain the fourth leading cause of death among Filpinos, this due to poor implementation and compliance of its road traffic laws.
Around 12, 620 Filipinos—roughly 34 killed daily—to have died due to road accidents in 2011 in the Philippines, despite its Republic Act 10054 or Motorcycle Helmet law and Republic Act No. 8750 or seat belt use.
Also causing problem to the enforcers are the lack of modern equipment like speeding measuring devices and even breathalyzer- a device used to estimate blood alcohol content from a breath sample for drunk drivers, among others. (RONALD O. REYES)
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