Stricter training for bus drivers could solve most road accidents that occur in the country, an official of the Land Transportation Office said Tuesday, reacting to the alarming number of people killed by buses throughout the country.
Most drivers who encounter accidents are usually not exactly trained to operate a bus, a drug dependent, or too tired to even drive, lawyer Esteban Baltazar, chief of the LTO Traffic Adjudication board, said.
At the weekly Busina Media Forum in Quezon City, Baltazar said as many as 12,000 people were killed each year in the Philippines due to road accidents which he blamed, quoting an official study, on human error.
“Majority of these accidents especially committed by bus companies are essentially committed by human error, the second reason, mechanical errors and third, road unworthiness. The LTO is trying to address or mitigate incidence of human errors by requiring aspiring bus drivers now to undertake NC2 courses for professional bus drivers,” says Baltazar.
Compared with before, any person can actually apply and be accepted as a bus driver bearing a professional license. Now, those who want to become professional bus drivers must undergo 18 hours of initial driving training as well as rigorous and stricter driving instruction for operating trucks, buses and heavy equipment.
“Before we even give professional licenses for buses, we now require them to undergo at least at NC2 level TESDA driving courses. Without any evidence of passing these courses, we will not issue these licenses,” Baltazar added.
Driving courses for professional bus drivers are being conducted at the Land Transportation Office and LTFRB.
The only private bus training course outside of the government is being managed by Victory Liner Inc. Victory is the only bus company with its own training school based in Dagupan, Pangasinan.
Baltazar said they were encouraging other bus companies to help support government training programs for professional drivers.