Editor’s Note: The following is a joint statement of Filipino road users and advocacy groups for the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week. The original statement can be seen on the ImagineLaw Facebook page.
Every hour, a person dies on Philippine roads due to road crashes. It could be any one of us—a person cycling on the way to work, a parent walking home from the market, or a courier delivering our latest online purchase. We are all road users, and we all risk our lives every time we travel for as long as motor vehicles travel at high speeds on roads where people mix with traffic.
We now know why speeding makes our roads unsafe. The faster a motor vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian or cyclist or even another vehicle. The faster a motor vehicle travels, the more likely that a crash will result in severe injuries or death. In roads where people mix with traffic—along schools, malls, churches, and homes—speeding vehicles endanger the lives of pedestrians, cyclists, commuters, children, older people, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable road users, whose deaths make up more than half of all road deaths in the country.
Despite this clear and present danger, our government has not done enough to protect us from speeding motor vehicles. Less than 2% of all local government units (LGUs) are reported to have enacted speed limit ordinances that set safe speed limits, such as 30 kph on city or municipal roads and 20 kph on barangay roads and crowded streets. In the few LGUs that have set speed limits, there are almost no speed limit signs to inform drivers how fast they should go, and limited to no speed enforcement. Without these interventions, the rising number of road deaths, particularly of vulnerable road users will only continue to rise.
This Global Road Safety Week with the theme Streets for Life: #Love30, we join the millions of road users worldwide in urging our community leaders to build streets for life—streets where we can walk, live and play safely—by ensuring that motor vehicles travel at 30 kph or less on these roads. We ‘love 30’ because vulnerable road users have a greater chance of surviving a crash at this speed, and the risk of death or serious injury increases exponentially at speeds above 30 kph. For us, loving 30, or setting speed limits of 30 kph or less on roads where people and vehicles mix—can be the difference between life and death.
We demand the Philippine government to act urgently to keep all road users safe and to #Love30 by limiting motor vehicle speeds to 30 kph on city or municipal roads.
We call on our local chief executives to prioritize the enactment of speed limit ordinances within their LGUs and to immediately ramp up speed limit enforcement across the country.
We urge the Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Interior and Local Government to urge and assist LGUs in complying with their legal mandate to classify all roads to set safe speed limits.
Finally, we call on every Filipino, our fellow road users, to join our demand for the government to create an environment—through enforcement and proper speed management engineering—to ensure that vehicles can #SlowDownToSaveLives
Every hour of inaction by the government means another life lost on our roads.