How many times have we seen public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers disobey traffic signs? It would seem intentional at first but let’s face it, most of them don’t even know what these signs mean.

A morning TV show once put a random public utility jeepney (PUJ) driver on the spot by flashing a bunch of traffic signs and asked him to identify each one. He got 1 out of 7.

To put an end to the ignorance of traffic rules and regulations – because ignorance of the law excuses no one – the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has announced that it is currently working with a couple of educational institutions in order to put up a driving academy for PUV drivers all around the country.

Ateneo School of Government and the De La Salle University (DLSU) Psychology Department and the LTFRB is set to sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for both schools to provide courses for the driver training academy program.

“All PUV drivers will be covered by the academy. We need them to be retrained on road safety such as knowing different traffic signs and markings. Many accidents on roads could have been prevented if there are safety nets in place,” LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada.

Aside from Ateneo and DLSU, the LTFRB will look for other educational institutions and government agencies that can bolster the driving school program in order to make all PUV drivers perform better and safer when they’re behind the wheel.

“We have observed that there is lack of competency exams for road safety in government agencies. For instance, how to deal with road rages and prevent them from happening. That is the reason why we partnered with reputable academic institutions to seek for their assistance. We are grateful for Ateneo and La Salle for giving their support to this initiative,” added Lizada.

PUV drivers will take seminars and examinations to determine their driving aptitude. A graduated system will be used in order to determine the baseline of a PUV driver’s skill level before he moves up to more advanced courses. If a driver passes, they will be issued an identification (ID) card which has to be renewed every year.

“It will be a prerequisite for PUV operators to only hire drivers who undergo and passed the training academy,” said Lizada.

The driving academy will be free of charge to PUV operators and drivers. Private motorists are also welcome to take these courses and classes.

In the future, the LTFRB plans to create a database of PUV drivers in order to track their compliance with traffic rules and regulations.This database will be shared with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

“We want to provide courses on real-life driving situations for PUV drivers to become more aware on road safety. Our main concern is to provide a safe ride for the passengers who are the main stakeholders of the LTFRB and DOTr. While we go with the PUV modernization, the skills of the drivers should be upgraded,” Lizada said.