In spate of recent public transport accidents, Representatives Mariano Piamonte Jr. and Julieta Cortuna of the A TEACHER Party-List have filed House Bill 3832 also know as 'Public Utility Drivers Licensing Act'. It requires PUV drivers to obtain a special license, liability insurance, sets a speed limit and imposes stiffer penalties on traffic violations. The bill was filed to enhance the safety of public transport ensuring only qualified individuals may be allowed to operate public utility vehicles (PUV).
Under HB3832, drivers of public utility bus, jeeps, tricycles, trains, and other public utility vehicles will be required to obtain a special license before being allowed to drive any form of public transportation. The bill will mandate the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to create a special division to administer the said 'Utility Driver’s Licenses'.
The special licenses will only be issued after the following conditions:
a. Fifteen (15) days of actual driving examination for public utility train, five (5) days for bus and jeepney drivers, and three (3) days for tricycle drivers. The driver applicants must show actual safe driving habits.
b. A certificate of safe driving habits issued by an accredited private driving evaluation entity.
The bill also requires PUV drivers to obtain a liability insurance policy from a 'reliable' insurance firm "to compensate for damages, injuries or death to passengers or third parties in case of intentional, wrongful, negligent or accidental injuries in the course of driving a utility vehicle."
For train, bus and jeepney drivers, the insurance coverage should pay injured passenger or third party no less than PhP150,000, or the total hospitalization cost, whichever is higher. In the case of death, the remuneration shall be PhP200,000 per victim.
For tricycle drivers, the insurance coverage should pay injured passenger or third party no less than PhP100,000, or the total hospitalization cost, whichever is higher. In the case of death, the remuneration shall be PhP200,000 per victim.
HB3832 includes a speed limit provision, it sets the maximum speed for PUV at 60km/h. It also requires all public utility vehicle operators and drivers to ensure that speedometers are functioning in their vehicles. If the speedometer becomes faulty, the driver is required to disembark all his/her passengers and bring the vehicle to a shop for repair of the speedometer.
Drivers who operate public utility vehicles without the 'Utility Driver's License' will be punished by three months imprisonment and fined PhP50,000.
Meanwhile, the bill aims to mete out stiffer penalties to licensed drivers to ensure that they responsibly follow rules and regulations. First offenders will be slapped with a three month license suspension and fined PhP10,000; second-time offenders fined PhP20,000 and suspended for six months; for succeeding violations, a fine of PhP50,000 and a one year suspension. Drivers will also be required a five-day refresher course after each violation. After five violations, drivers will no longer be allowed to operate a public utility vehicle.