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Rep. Cesar Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, has approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to fine tune and further deliberate on a measure seeking to require driver’s education for professional truck drivers as a means to promote road safety.

The TWG is tasked to incorporate and harmonize the inputs gathered during the committee hearings on House Bill 859, which proposed mandatory specialized education for professional truck drivers, to be conducted by accredited driving schools.

Deputy Speaker Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th District, Bulacan), author of the bill, said that current rules and procedure for accreditation for driving schools do not include truck drivers education.

“While the regulation of driving schools has significantly improved the education and skills of drivers, truck drivers specifically have to be educated on the intricacies of driving their vehicles in view of their size and weight,” Villarica said.

“This will not only ensure road safety for motorists and the commuting public but also protect and preserve properties from damage or destruction,” the legislator said.

The 2016 data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), showed that motorcycles accounted for the highest fatal crash rate with 218 cases, followed by trucks with 103 and cars with 98. For accidents involving damage to property, cars accounted for the highest rate with 100,665 cases and followed by trucks with 18,052.

Among others, the proposal seeks to further strengthen the existing licensing requirement by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) that requires certification of passing the driver’s seminar by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for application or renewal of professional truck driver’s license.

The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP), expressed support for the passage of the bill.

In addition, the TWG will consider other suggestions from resource persons, like the addition of neuropsychiatric testing on top of training and education as requirement for professional truck drivers’ license.

There were also proposals to consolidate the requisite certifications and testing under one office, either TESDA or LTO, to avoid a difficult situation where drivers would have to face multiple required tests and seminars from different agencies.

Likewise, the TWG is expected to tackle the question on whether or not to expand the coverage of the bill to cover drivers of other public utility vehicles such as taxis and buses, among others.

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