Senator Chiz Escudero is pushing for the approval of a proposed legislation that will increase the criminal liability of drivers of common carriers involved in road accidents in a bid to curb the growing number of deaths and injuries attributed to reckless driving.

According to Escudero, the passage of Senate Bill No. 2085 he filed with the Senate seeking stiffer penalties would instill discipline among bus drivers and ensure that passengers are safe during travel.

Just last Wednesday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported that three people died and three others were injured when passenger bus Elavil bound for Manila collided with Juban RHU ambulance along the highway of Barangay Tublijon in Sorosogon City at 3:45 p.m. The casualties, the police said, were passengers of the ambulance.

On early morning of Monday, 18 people were injured when a wayward Philtranco on the way to Manila from Bicol skidded and fell on its side while negotiating a sharp curve in Barangay Silangang Malicboy in Pagbilao, Quezon.

“Bus drivers, especially those traveling to and from the provinces, seem to be treating lightly their obligation to transport their passengers safely to their destination as evidenced by consecutive vehicular accidents involving buses for this week alone,” Escudero said.

Escudero said it is about time to put in place SB 2095 to increase the penalty for criminal negligence committed by common carriers.

Under his proposal, errant drivers face jail terms from four months and one day to six months to 12 years in cases of injury and depending on the extent or gravity of the injury, and 12 years to 20 years imprisonment in cases of death.

“It is high time that we pass this bill into law. The penalties we have been imposing are no longer apt considering the way common carriers, especially buses, have been negligent on the road. The increase in penalty serves as a reminder and as a means to end their recklessness and irresponsibility,” Escudero said.

In the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for errant drivers is one month to four years and two months imprisonment depending on the gravity of the crime.