Duterte: Speed limit applies to ambulances, firetrucks and police cars, too

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 April) —  No exception. 

Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte on Sunday said the 30-40-60 kph speed limit in the city applies to all, including ambulances, firetrucks and police patrol cars.

“Your sirens are there to tell vehicles ahead of you to let you pass during emergencies… Your siren does not give you the right to violate the legal speeds and drive like crazy,” Duterte addressed the responders through his television program,  “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” (From the Masses, For the Masses).

Duterte said he already called the attention of City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chief Emmanuel Jaldon to terminate the services of an ambulance team whom he caught “speeding.”

The mayor said emergency responders, in their duty amid life-threatening situations, should not themselves “look for accidents.”

Duterte issued Executive Order 39 in late 2013, mandating speed limits of as low as 30kph for vehicles plying the downtown streets, with the highest speed of 60 kph in the outskirts.

The EO was based on an existing national law and an old ordinance, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code or RA 4136 and Ordinance No. 778 series of 1973 known as the “Revised Traffic Ordinance of Davao City,” respectively.

However, a provision in RA4136 provides exemptions for emergency vehicles.

Prescribed speed limits were not applicable to the following:

–        Doctors or their drivers responding to emergency calls;

–        Drivers of a hospital ambulance on the way to and from the place of accident or other emergency;

–        Drivers transporting injured or sick patients for emergency treatments to the hospital, clinic, or any similar place;

–        Law enforcement officers trying to overtake a violator of traffic laws; and drivers officially operating a motor vehicle of any fire department, as well as personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines during times of riot, insurrection, or invasion.

Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao, Davao City Police Office director, said police units patrolling the streets are already following the city’s speed limits.

In fact, following the speed limit was better for patrol purposes to allow officers to visualize their areas better.

However, he said there are exceptions.

“Common sense will tell us that you will have to run faster if your suspect is driving faster than you are,” Danao said.  “For example, if we see suspects riding in tandem on a motorcycle in the act of shooting someone, of course we have to drive faster to apprehend them.”

He quipped: “They will not abide by the speed limits.”

Jaldon said it was acceptable for the city’s responders to abide by the speed limits.

He narrated that the city’s ambulances and firetrucks are abiding by the speed limits.

“The idea of alarm is not just a license to overtake vehicles,” Jaldon said, referring to the sirens used by the responder vehicles. “It is just a device to allow motorists to be aware that there is an emerging vehicle,”  he said. (MindaNews)