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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Solon seeks mandatory installation of dashcam systems in PUVs
Writer: Lorelei V. Castillo, Media Relations Service-PRIB
13 September 2015 06:03:12 AM

A lawmaker is seeking the mandatory installation of dashboard cameras or dashcam systems in vehicle operated for public utility to ensure the maximum safety and protection of drivers and passengers.

The proposal is embodied in House Bill 6050 which is authored by Rep. Eric L. Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City), and now pending at the House Committee on Transportation chaired by Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes).

Olivarez said in California and nominally in Australia, the legalization of dash cams has led to an 80 percent reduction in accidents in cars.

Drivers in Russia have also been early adopters of dashboard camera technologies for self-protection and have used and uploaded footages online as visual proof and admissible evidence to fend off charges from possibly corrupt police officers and against insurance scammers who often stage accidents, Olivarez said.

"A 'dash cam' is a device attached to the vehicle that can monitor and record all of the automobile's activities. It can provide a record of police behavior during traffic stops, documenting incidents of road rage and recording events leading up to accidents caused by drunk drivers, sleepy or wayward drivers for reporting to insurance companies," Olivarez said.

They can also record one's driving speed, road routes, direction, seat belt usage and steering and braking events. A crash or 'unusual motion' of the vehicle can automatically trigger the camera's recording function, but the driver can also manually operate it for the purpose of monitoring driving performance, according to the lawmaker.

"Even when the car is parked, a dash cam can act as surveillance and can record who is responsible for the damage or an attempted break-in. Incidents of road mishaps and criminal actions can then be prevented," Olivarez said.

In filing the measure, Olivarez cited the data compiled by the Traffic Management Group (TMG) of the Philippine National Police, causes of road accidents include failure to yield right of way, reckless overtaking, tailgating, improper turning and exceeding lawful speed limit causing various injuries to drivers and pedestrians.

Moreover, Olivarez said a supporting study by A. C. Mendoza revealed that 85 percent of road accidents in the Philippines were caused by driver error or violations, determining that the social environment has a role to play wherein intentions to commit violations were higher when other drivers were seen to commit violations and when there were no traffic enforcers around.

Olivarez said alongside the current transportation safety policies, roadway infrastructure and driver education programs, innovations in ICT also have the potential to improve the implementation of traffic regulations and guarantee road safety for a more inclusively mobile community.

Under the measure, to be known as the "Dashcam Act of 2015," the installation and use of a dashboard camera system shall be required for all public utility vehicles. Owners and operators of taxi franchises, bus lines and other vehicles for public utility shall be required to procure dashcams and install these for all its units.

The proper placement of a dashboard camera system shall be ensured that it does not impair the driver's view of the road and outside the range of airbag deployment, the ideal location of which is in the windshield.

To ensure reliable visibility, the bill provides that the dash cam may be no longer than a 5-inch square area on the driver's side of the windshield, or a 7-inch square area on the passenger's side windshield.

Also, the bill provides that the usage of the dash cam as a recording device shall be in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Under the bill, no bus, taxi, or any other public utility vehicle for that matter, shall be allowed registration and renewal of registration by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) without the GPS, after the one-year grace period expiration.

The bill mandates the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), LTO and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to conduct regular ocular inspections after the lapse of one year.

A P500, 000 fine will be meted against the proprietor of the business.