Congressman Mark Sambar filed House Bill 4459, urging the government to adopt measures to prevent road accidents caused or involving buses.

Under the bill to be known as the Competence Accreditation Program and Minimum Wage for Bus Drivers Act of 2011, drivers will get proper training and subjected to an accreditation program before being allowed to ply the streets. Only accredited drivers will be allowed to drive public utility buses in Metro Manila and in the provinces under a bill which will also require bus operators to pay them a fixed monthly salary.

"Bus drivers are notorious for reckless driving habits of swerving their way through busy traffic or careening through open highways," Sambar said.

Sambar noted that passenger safety has become secondary for bus drivers whose incomes depend on the number of trips made and passengers ferried during the day. With the more attractive fare rates offered by buses, vis-a-vis air travel, many passengers are at the mercy of bus drivers who are sometimes ill equipped to drive their vehicles for several hours straight.

"The State should improve the knowledge and skills of bus drivers before they start driving professionally and improve road safety through better qualified drivers," Sambar said.

Under bill, potential bus drivers should pass the theory and hazard perception tests, practical driving test and driver accreditation for professional competence. The bill also mandates the Director General of the Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) and the Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to develop a certification and training program for bus drivers to ensure the competence and professionalism of the sector.

The bill further provides that aside from the requirements of obtaining a professional driver's license from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), only bus drivers with TESDA/DOTC accreditation shall be allowed to drive public utility buses, after three years from the approval of this bill.

Earlier, Reps. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna) and Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anak Pawis) have also filed a bill requiring bus operators to pay their drivers fixed monthly salaries. Casiño said poor working conditions and unfair boundary or commission-based systems are at the root of these accidents.

Now this is more interesting than the proposed bill to ban HID lately. What do you think of this newly filed bill?