SPECIAL REPORT: Speeding causes road crashes

BALANGA CITY – Last May 20, two women died on the spot while 15 others were badly injured when a hired XLT type public utility van hit an electric post and overturned. They were on their way to a beach resort in Bagac town for a weekend family celebration.

Edmundo Balmaceda, the van’s driver, said he lost his brakes in a downslope and zigzag portion of J.J. Linao Avenue.

But a relative of one of the victims, Fernando Pascual Jr. said Balmaceda was running on a 70 KPH speed before the accident happened. The other relative said the van lacks proper maintenance.

Way back in 2010, 3 persons were killed and 58 were injured when a tourist bus from Metro Manila hit a tree within the said area. In 2011, 11 were hurt when a mini bus went out of control and turned turtle in the same spot.

The United Nations commemorated the 4th UN Global Road Safety Week last May 8-14, 2017 themed: “Slow down.”

Within that week, the Metro Bataan Development Authority (MBDA), headed by General Manager Carlos “Charlie” Pizarro, Jr., has released a comprehensive report that mentioned that speeding is one of the leading causes of road crashes in the province of Bataan.

While on high gear before the crash happens, the report stated that most of the drivers complaints (if they survived the crash) were they lost control; they made a counter flow or overtaking along the highway; improper or sudden turns and commonly, reckless driving.

In a report from Jimmy Angeles, administrative head of the MBDA, the incident tabulation for the first quarter of 2017, the analysis entails a total of two hundred twenty two recorded incidents where road crashes encompass 73% of the total incident rate.

In December 2016, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial board) passed the Ordinance No. 4 Series of 2016 or the speed limit ordinance in all Bataan national highways.

“In comparison to the first quarter of 2016 there is a 26% reduction on the incident rate due to the continuous implementation of traffic laws along all national roads within the province,” the report stated.

Last year, the MBDA has recorded 698 road crashes where the City of Balanga recorded the most number of incidents (167 vehicular crashes).

The first quarter report also cited various road conditions such as poor lightings, lack of early warning devices, unlined roads and wet weather conditions. Lost control incidents, the report said, can be associated with the road and lighting condition of the expressway. Poor visibility, unlit road works, damaged roadway are some of the common reasons of crashes were also mentioned in the MBDA report.

Traffic violations such as counter flowing, reckless driving, improper turns and speeding contributes to majority of road crashes along the national roads of the province namely the Roman Expressway, J.J. Linao Avenue, Mc Arthur Highway and the Hermosa-Dinalupihan stretch of Jose Abad Santos Avenue (JASA).

In the first quarter report, the municipality of Dinalupihan has the most number of vehicular crashes. Majority of the incidents are minor incidents such as fender benders or minor collisions. There are only 4 major incidents recorded and have incurred two fatalities.

The municipality of Hermosa is second in the most incidents. The report said the incidents can be accounted to the current rehabilitation of the expressway along Barangay Palihan, and end part of barangays Mandama and Mambog. Majority of incidents on these areas are motorcycle self-accidents, minor fender benders, and lose control (human error) due to unlined roadways.

The number of casualty recorded on the first quarter of 2017 is already at 30% of the total number of casualties recorded in 2016. According to the report, the municipality of Mariveles already has 6 casualties.

The report also stated that PUV overloading especially during rush hours is rampant. A minibus has only a maximum seating capacity of 30 passengers.

Mini buses with Mariveles and Olongapo route usually are overloaded due to the number of passengers to and from the vicinity is high. Illegal terminal, improper drop-off points and speeding also contributes to the incidents within the national roads of the province.

Last June 10, two persons were killed when a mini bus with (Balanga City-San Fernando City, Pampanga route) rammed into a narra tree along the Roman Highway.

Rommel Sayson, the bus’ driver said he tried to avoid a motorcycle who allegedly went counterflow that resulted to the incident.

The speed limit in the province was just strictly enforced last April of this year. The MBDA along with other concerned agencies such as the LTO, the PNP along with the provincial government here continues to conduct studies and evaluation on the effectivity of this new local law.– MHIKE CIGARAL