Road accidents alarm authorities as death toll reaches 23

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/23 May) — Authorities have raised alarm over the increasing number of deaths in the city due to vehicular accidents that already reached 23 cases since January.

Police Officer 3 Adolfo Yucampo, investigator of the city police’s traffic management unit (TMU), said Thursday their records showed that the death cases caused by vehicular road accidents have been continually rising in the last several months.

He said most of these cases were mainly caused by traffic-related problems and the “lack of discipline” among the involved drivers.

“The situation is quite alarming since our record shows that there has been an upward trend in terms of the death cases due to these accidents in the last three years,” Yucampo said.

For this month, the latest death case involved media worker Salvador “Buddy” Peñafiel, who died after his motorcycle collided head-on with a tricycle along the Fil-Am Road in Barangay Fatima before noon last Monday.

Peñafiel, 48, is a reporter of radio station dxGS-Radyo Filipino and served as media coordinator of incumbent Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio in her failed reelection bid in the May 13 elections.

Yucampo said the incident is still under investigation and they have yet to determine the identity of the tricycle driver, who immediately fled on foot after the incident.

In 2011, Yucampo said they recorded a total of 16 death cases due to vehicular accidents and the figure increased to 34 last year.

TMU records showed that the number of vehicular accidents in the city last year reached a total of 2,153 cases, with 1,070 or about half involving single motorcycles.

The other half involved 786 cases for automobiles, 107 for tricycles, 103 for trucks, 78 for passenger jeepneys and nine for buses.

Yucampo said some of the drivers involved in the recorded accidents have expired or not carrying driver’s licenses and were driving unregistered vehicles.

“A significant number of these accidents involved drunk drivers,” he said.

Yucampo reminded vehicle owners and drivers in the city to abide by the city’s traffic regulations, including the wearing of helmets and other protective gears for those who are driving motorcycles.

“They should also follow the proper road safety driving measures and observe road courtesy while driving,” Yucampo said.

He added that the TMU will continue with its mandate to educate local vehicle owners and drivers regarding traffic regulations and safety measures as well as the apprehension of traffic violators as a strategy to ensure road safety within the city. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)