GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/8 Nov) – Alarmed with the rising cases of accidents involving “teen drivers,” the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 has launched a massive advocacy and education campaign on road safety among high school and college students in the region.
Teresita Socorro Ramos, RDC 12 vice chairperson, said in a statement that the initiative was based on a resolution recently passed by the council that recognizes the need to educate teen drivers in the region on road safety practices and proper driving behavior to help curb the cases of vehicular accidents. Based on RDC Resolution No. 52, she said the council specifically pushed for the “conduct of advocacy activity on road safety in secondary and tertiary schools” within Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
The measure took off from a proposal submitted to the council by the Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC) for the conduct of orientation among teen drivers on proper driving behavior.
In its proposal, the RSDC said statistics showed that vehicular accidents has been one of the top causes of injuries and deaths in the country and a number of them involved teen drivers.
“One study showed that the fatality rate for drivers aged 16 to 19 is four times higher than those aged 25 to 69. The crash fatality rate per 100,000 population is highest for the ages 16 to 17 within the first six months after securing licenses and remains high through age 24,” the committee noted.
It added that reckless driving, over-speeding, distraction from mobile phones and substance abuse were among the main causes of accidents involving teenage drivers.
As part of the campaign, Ramos said the RDC initially conducted a trainers’ training on road advocacy for 60 officials and representatives of various government agencies, schools, universities and colleges, private companies and media entities.
She said the trainers’ training covered discussions on the provisions of Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation Code of the Philippines; defensive driving and road courtesy; road safety and accidents; and, first aid.
The training program was facilitated by RDC private sector representative Nestor Lumawig, who is also chair of the Koronadal City-based United Transport Operators and Drivers Servicing Cooperative.
It was supported by Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Public Works and Highways, Land Transportation Office, Department of Health and National Economic and Development Authority.
“Most of the participants came from the education sector since it is also the target clientele of the campaign,” Ramos said. She said the participants from DepEd, TESDA, CHED and tertiary level
institutions were expected to re-echo the training to supervisors, principals, school administrators and road safety coordinators who will eventually be tasked to also orient the other school principals and teachers. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)