DOTr and partners craft plan for safer roads

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic crashes are the 8th leading cause of death for people of all ages and the leading cause of death for children and young adults. And more than half of the fatalities are vulnerable road users like pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders.

“Road traffic injuries are a major yet often neglected public health issue. Deaths and injuries from road crashes are preventable, and all sectors have a role to play in promoting road safety. Together with the DOTr, WHO is committed to working with all concerned agencies and organizations that share the vision of safer roads for everyone. Let us all #RethinkMobility and save lives from road crashes,” said Dr. Rui Paulo de Jesus, WHO Representative to the Philippines.

In the Philippines, road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among Filipinos 15-29 years old and a major killer among children. It also costs the Philippines 2.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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“The DOTr takes road safety seriously. Its approach is anchored on prevention. In fact, the majority of transport projects are aligned toward promoting road safety. But the DOTr needs to benchmark the effectiveness of these initiatives with global standards. After the official release of the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan, it is high time to put it in action and ensure a significant reduction of deaths on the road,” said DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista.

Road traffic deaths have gone up from 7,938 in 2011 to 11,096 in 2021. The trend continues to rise unless something is done. Fortunately, the DOTr, WHO, and other road safety partners have teamed up for the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan 2023-2028. 

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The Philippine Road Safety Action Plan 2023-2028 serves as the blueprint for the country's road safety initiatives and seeks to reduce the number of road traffic deaths by 35% in 2028.

1st pillar is Road Safety Management. It highlights the need to strengthen the DOTr’s position as the lead agency for road safety. Gather quality data, enhance research, engage stakeholders, promote multimodal public transportation and land-use planning, and advocate for adherence to applicable international agreements and adoption of global best practices on road safety.

2nd pillar is Safer Roads. Integrate safety in infrastructure design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The safety and mobility of vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities must be taken into consideration.

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3rd pillar is Safer Vehicles. There must be an enhanced focus on vehicle registration and inspection systems and compliance with harmonized vehicle standards and regulations. An audit team dedicated to public utility vehicles, private fleets, and other public utility vehicle (PUV) operators must be established to monitor their performance. Putting regulations in place for the safe use of electric vehicles as covered under the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA).

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4th pillar is Safer Road Users. Increase public awareness and support for road safety, recognize the importance of media and communications, and highlights the importance of stricter enforcement of laws on road safety.

5th pillar is Post-crash Response. Improve access to pre-hospital care, trauma care, and rehabilitation for victims of road crashes, and ensure that road crash victims receive appropriate, immediate, and subsequent medical care.

While DOTr has highlighted what they want to achieve, it's another thing to execute these plans. That said, we'll keep our eyes peeled for more information about the Philippine Road Safety Action Plan in the coming days.