MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday tasked the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to come up with a mechanism for strict enforcement of safety measures to prevent accidents at railroad crossings.
In a directive, the DOTr reminded the LTO to strictly implement Section 42 (d) of Republic Act No. 4136, also known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code,” and enforce sanctions against drivers who do not stop before railroad crossings.
DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark de Leon said an enforcement system, which would bring swift action against violators, could help in preventing future accidents on rail lines.
“Through an enforcement system, violators cannot just get away with their misbehavior. We will be able to determine those who deliberately and habitually disobey our traffic rules on rail lines,” de Leon said.
Aside from protecting lives, investing in an enforcement system could also save the government from spending on the repair of property damages.
“Aside from the safety of the public, we also need to protect our rail infrastructure given the high capital cost of these systems,” de Leon said.
LTO Assistant Secretary Edgar Galvante said his office will closely work with the DOTr and the PNR to formulate the mechanism to prevent further loss of lives on rail tracks.
“We will work closely with the DOTr and PNR on the establishment of preventive measures to ensure the safety of the public, and inculcate discipline among drivers,” Galvante said.
Last Tuesday, a Nissan Urvan was hit by a PNR train after the van’s driver attempted to speed through a railroad crossing in Calamba City, Laguna.
In a phone interview on Tuesday, Joseline Geronimo, PNR operations manager and spokesperson, said a total of seven people were involved in the incident, the driver, his passenger, and five bystanders.
“Yung closed van, Nissan Urvan, beating the red light siya sa railroad crossing. Bigla na nga lang daw sumulpot eh (The closed van, Nissan Urvan, it was beating the red light in a railroad crossing. They said it just came out of nowhere),” Geronimo said.
Though there were only minor injuries, the incident totally wrecked the van, damaged three makeshift houses, a tricycle, and damaged a recently overhauled PNR train engine.
The PNR executive said the train had no shortcomings, which could have resulted in the incident, as its headlight was very bright to ensure its visibility and its horns were sounded prior to reaching the railroad crossing.
To prevent such incidents, she reminded motorists to always “stop, look, and listen” at railroad crossings
“Stop, look, and listen lang talaga ang pakiusap namin para nakakaiwas tayo. Mabuti kung damage to property lang, papano kung meron mga casualties? (Stop, look, and listen are what we are asking for to avoid such incidents. It’s good if it’s just damage to property, what if there were casualties?),” Geronimo said. Raymond Carl Dela Cruz / PNA – northboundasia.com