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EDITORIAL — Irresponsible driving

As travel increases this Holy Week, motorists are expressing concern about a road accident this month that penalized an innocent driver. Video footage showed a Toyota Innova traversing the northbound lane of the Skyway Stage 3 on March 10 when a motorcycle moving beyond the speed limit counter-flowed, colliding head-on with the Innova.

The 22-year-old motorcycle rider, without a helmet and wearing slippers, was thrown off the bike by the impact and died. Traffic enforcers had tried to stop him from entering the ramp at the A. Bonifacio segment in Quezon City because his Suzuki Raider 150cc motorcycle is not allowed on the Skyway, but he sped away. Probers later said the rider was drunk and carried no driver’s license.

What did the police do? They arrested and detained the Innova driver, and filed a criminal complaint against him for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property. While the biker’s death is a tragedy, what about the Innova that was damaged by a motorcycle driving on the wrong side of the road?

At least the Quezon City prosecutor’s office had the good sense to clear the Innova driver and order his release. Reports said police filed the case because there was a death, and had encouraged the parties involved to just settle, with the Innova driver promising to give financial assistance to the biker’s family. What about his damaged car, the danger posed to his life by the biker’s irresponsibility, the disruption to his life and the psychological distress of being arrested and detained by police for two days?

It’s OK if the Innova driver took pity on the biker and voluntarily offered to give financial assistance to the bereaved family. But it’s another story if police told him to do this so he could avoid the hassle of criminal prosecution.

The accident has led to the highlighting of recent similar incidents wherein law-abiding drivers ended up being penalized for reckless, irresponsible driving mostly by motorcycle riders. Police who encourage this kind of injustice must be slapped with administrative charges.

These days, the likelihood of road accidents has increased because many motorcycle riders, especially those working for