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Bill seeks review of rules on reckless imprudence

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s road safety laws must be reviewed to address the liability of drivers in cases of traffic violations and accidents, a lawmaker from Bukidnon said yesterday, citing the high number of vehicular crashes in Metro Manila.

In House Bill 10196, Bukidnon Rep. Jonathan Keith Flores said there is a need to look into these laws to address the “broad and mistaken application” of the Revised Penal Code and Civil Code to Road Mishaps.

The bill, to be known as the Philippine Responsible Driving and Accountability Act of, shall “strengthen the implementation of the country’s road safety laws, as well as laws on criminal, civil and administrative culpability and liability of drivers involved in traffic violations and road safety incidents.”

The bill’s explanatory note stated there are 157 road accidents per day in the National Capital Region, citing data from then Metro Manila Accident Reporting and Analysis System.”

“The prevalence of crashes has been a particular cause of concern to the public despite several road safety laws intended to improve road user behavior, curb potential negligence and hold road violators accountable,” it reads.

The measure underscores the need to review the rules on reckless imprudence, in particular, as the provision in Article 2185 of the Civil Code on vehicular mishap is inadequate.

The Civil Code provides that “unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation.”

The bill aims to “clarify the presumptions that are applicable in road safety incidents or vehicular mishaps to protect law-abiding persons from misapplied presumptions.”