Solon proposes standard limit to driving hours for public utility drivers

By on December 15, 2014

(Tooykrub / Shutterstock)
(Tooykrub / Shutterstock)

MANILA — A party-list lawmaker has proposed a nine-hour daily driving limit for each 24-hour period for public utility drivers.

“Driver fatigue is among the leading causes of potentially fatal road accidents in the Philippines,” ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Samuel D. Pagdilao, Jr. pointed out.

Pagdilao is author of HB 5271 entitled “An Act providing daily driving limits for trucks, buses and other public utility vehicles.”

HB 5271 covers trucks, buses and other motorized vehicles classified as public utility vehicles covered by Certificates of Public Conveyance issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“In other countries, daily driving hours are specifically limited as a safety measure against fatigue-related accident. In the United States, the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates a maximum daily driving limit of 10 to 11 hours. In Europe, drivers observe a daily driving limit of 9 to 10 hours only,” Pagdilao pointed out.

Section 4 of the proposed Act provides: “The driving limit shall be nine (9) hours for each 24-hour period. However, the daily driving time may be extended to at most 10 hours not more than twice during a week.”

Likewise, Section 5 of the proposed “Daily Driving Limit Act of 2014” states: “After driving a continuous period of four and a half (4 & ½) hours, a driver shall take an uninterrupted break of not less than thirty (30) minutes. This mandatory period shall not be included in the computation of the daily driving limit.”

The bill also provides, among other salient provisions, for the duties of drivers to record his duty status, in writing for each 24-hour period. The duty status shall provide the following information: a) Date; b) Name of Driver; c) Motor Vehicle License Plate; d) Name of Operator/Owner/Company, if any; e) 24-hour period starting time; f) Total kilometers driving today; g) Total hours driving; and h) Signature of Driver.

Likewise, the Pagdilao measure provides the penalty of imprisonment from one to six months or a fine amounting to Php100,000 or both shall be imposed upon a driver of a motor vehicle covered under this Act who fails to observe the daily driving limit and mandatory rest period, fails to complete the record of duty status, fails to preserve a record of such duty status for inspection, or makes false statements in such daily status.

“The same shall be imposed upon the operator or owner of a motor vehicle who fails to preserve a record of such duty status for inspection,” the author added.

Likewise, the penalty of imprisonment from six months to one year or a fine amounting to Php200,000 or both shall be imposed upon the operator or owner of the motor vehicle who orders or requires his driver to drive in excess of the daily driving limit.

In making his point, the author cited a recent report that a parked police car was wrecked by a bus driver who allegedly fell asleep while in transit along EDSA Balintawak, Quezon City.

“The bus driver claims that he was extremely tired and exhausted for driving 24 hours when the accident occurred, injuring four policemen on duty,” Pagdilao said, recalling one of the numerous incidents of similar accidents which were mostly fatal.