New agency dedicated to investigating accidents and liability

Rep. Harlin Neil Abayon III of the AANGAT TAYO Party-list had recently proposed for the creation of a national agency which would have some similar mandates as the US’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to his proposal, the agency will be called as the National Land Transportation Safety Board (NLTSB) and will be the one body to handle road safety regulations for all land vehicles, including public utility vehicles. Effectively, this will redefine the current roles of both the LTFRB and LTO. The NLTSB will be the sole agency responsible for regulating the roadworthiness of all land motor vehicles including motorcycles, cancel or suspend driver's licenses, investigate road accidents, and resolve administrative cases arising from road accidents.

“The LTFRB system is badly broken. There are three positions there with immense powers over life and death of commuters, pedestrians, drivers, and transport operators,” he pointed out. “We have an LTO that cannot issue driver's licenses and motor vehicle plates on time and efficiently. The LTO also has very little enforcement presence on the roads,” Abayon added.

Such inadequacies, according to the congressman, necessitate the creation of the new ‘safety board’ such as the NLTSB and will downgrade LTO’s capacity to only processing of registration of vehicles and issuance of driver’s licenses. The LTFRB will still be the agency in charge of issuing land transportation franchises and other related documentation for public utility vehicles. Then PNP’s Highway Patrol Group (HPG) will handle the investigation of all road vehicular mishaps. The NLTSB, will be mandated by law to act as the agency to process and deliberate cases related to road accidents, determine who is at fault and who’s licenses or Operator’s Permits revoked.

The NLTSB will also be responsible for collecting road safety data, and finally, formulate government policies and standards towards safer roads for all road users. Congressman Abayon said that our country’s current situation calls for a permanent inter-agency committee or office to be chaired by the NLTSB that will collect, analyze, and frequently report to the public on road safety issues.

“I am inclined to author and file a bill establishing this new office, incuding its data collection functions, but there shall be coordination with the NLTSB and clarification of specific roles, with the PNP most probably assisting the NLTSB,” added Abayon.