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TWG to study bill requiring PH truck drivers to attend driving school

The Philippine Lower House Committee on Transportation (COTr) has approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to fine tune and further deliberate on a measure seeking to require professional truck drivers to undergo a driver’s education as a means to promote road safety.

The TWG is tasked to incorporate and harmonize the inputs gathered during committee hearings on House Bill (HB) No. 859, which proposes mandatory specialized education for professional truck drivers, to be conducted by accredited driving schools.

Deputy Speaker Linabelle Ruth Villarica, author of the bill, said that current rules and procedure for accreditation of driving schools do not include truck drivers’ education.

“While the regulation of driving schools has significantly improved the education and skills of drivers, truck drivers specifically have to be educated on the intricacies of driving their vehicles in view of their size and weight. This will not only ensure road safety for motorists and the commuting public but also protect and preserve properties from damage or destruction,” Villarica said.

The 2016 data of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) showed that motorcycles accounted for the highest fatal crash rate with 218 cases, followed by trucks with 103, and cars with 98. For accidents involving damage to property, cars accounted for the highest rate with 100,665 cases, followed by trucks with 18,052.

Among others, the proposal seeks to further strengthen Land Transportation Office (LTO) licensing requirements by requiring truck drivers applying for or renewing a professional license to submit a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) drivers’ seminar certificate.

The COTr, in a statement, said the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) has expressed support for bill.

In addition, the committee said, the TWG will consider other suggestions from resource persons, like adding neuropsychiatric testing on top of training and education as a requirement for a professional truck driver’s license.

There are also proposals to consolidate the requisite certifications and testing under one office, either TESDA or LTO, to avoid the difficult situation of drivers having to face multiple required tests and seminars from different agencies.

Likewise, the TWG is expected to tackle the question of whether or not to expand the coverage of the bill to include drivers of other public utility vehicles such as taxis and buses.

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