Press Release
March 5, 2014

Pimentel seeks probe in series of Skyway vehicular accidents

"How safe is our skyway?" asked Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Tuesday after another vehicle only last Monday fell off the elevated expressway at the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), injuring the driver of a shuttle van for Skyway employees and a passenger of a sports utility vehicle.

Pimentel said operators of the Skyway are supposed to install adequate safety measures and strictly enforce traffic rules and regulations to protect the lives of motorists using the country's elevated expressway after a series of accidents hard marred its operations to ease traffic congestion at the SLEX.

Because of these incidents, Pimentel recently filed Senate Resolution No. 550, seeking an inquiry on the safety of the structure and design of Metro Manila's Skyway to ascertain why numerous vehicular accidents happened, claiming several lives and causing untold damages to properties over the last few months.

"It is important to find out whether the Skyway operator is properly enforcing traffic rules, speed limit and other regulations. However, given this many number of accidents, there is a need to ask the more difficult question of whether the design and structure of the Skyway itself is safe by international standards in the first place," asked Pimentel.

He said the investigation is timely because of a new plan to build the P26.5 billion elevated expressway that would connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to ensure that the elevated roads systems are safe by international standards.

Pimentel said new measures are needed to improve safety on roads, especially of the elevated road systems given the fact that there is already an existing skyway and plans to construct more are in the pipeline to solve Metro Manila's worsening traffic gridlocks.

He cited the latest case of a shuttle van for Skyway employees that fell off the elevated expressway's southbound lane only last Sunday, injuring the driver and a passenger of a sports utility vehicle that hit the van.

According to a group monitoring government projects, called the Citizens Infrastructure Integrity Watchdog, "the steel rail guards do not have the height and strength to prevent vehicles from falling down. In short, they are only for decorative purposes."

Pimentel said the probe will try to ascertain the need for new safety measures to be adopted to prevent a repeat of the incident and ensure that the structural integrity and design of the expressways are safe by international standards.

The single biggest tragedy happened on Dec. 16, 2013 when a Don Mariano Transit bus also fell off the southbound lane of the South Luzon Skyway, killing 18 passengers and hurting more in what was described as the worst vehicular mishap at the elevated expressway.

Other accidents involved an armored van that crushed four vehicles and killed one after falling off the Skyway of Jan. 25, 2007 and a Dimple Star Transport Corp. bus that also fell off the elevated expressway on July 26, 2011, killing three people.

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