Monday, June 15, 2015

Stupid Drivers

Yesterday I came across an article in Top Gear about a collision between a police car and a private sedan.  The title of the article is “Police vehicle hits a car cruising in proper lane; cops say it’s car driver’s fault.”  I was piqued with the article and read it.
http://www.topgear.com.ph/news/motoring-news/police-vehicle-hits-a-car-cruising-in-its-lane-cops-say-it-s-car-driver-s-fault

I also found this Facebook post from the presumed party involved in the accident as shared by another Facebook user Yaj French Atotubo:

URGENT HELP PLEASE ! ! !
We were driving earlier sa may Tagaytay area & nabangga kami ng police vehicle. After the investigation, kami daw ang mali. Wala daw sila kasalanan. We were arguing na "paano naman yun mangyari eh headlight yung bangga niyo tapos sa side passenger seat pa ang bangga namin?"
They were even saying na pirmahan namin yung contract / police
report which states na wala sila kasalanan kasi if not hindi namin mauuwi yung Vios & detained kapatid ko.
Looking at the vehicle.Makikita kung sino talaga ang nabangga & kung sino ang bumangga! We need some serious help.
Sino pwede mga makausap or makatulong about this situation? Thank you!

But later in the afternoon, the post and the attached pictures were taken down—despite the outpouring support from netizens.  Save for a few posters, almost all who commented are sympathetic to the driver of the sedan and I can recognize names of policemen among them.  One poster named Nick Joven even introduced himself as a former traffic investigator who retired due to stroke.  His main argument is that since the police vehicle bumped the sedan, then it is the police vehicle’s fault.  I can only say “Huh?”

So what is my take?

Let me start by treating this accident as if the two vehicles are both civilian vehicles and not a police car.

Here is one picture from the Top Gear post.



Clearly, the red car is in its “proper lane” and the patrol car intruded in it.  Red car: 1, Patrol car: 0.  Right?

Oops but hold on.  Here is another picture:



Here, it is very clear that the front left wheel of the patrol car is already past the midline, showing that it is about to complete its entrance to its lane in the highway.

And here is another picture showing the road where the patrol car came from.


Here is a close up picture of the damage of the red sedan.





And here is the damage of the patrol car.



So what can we deduce from these pictures and what does the law says about it?

There are two provisions that LAWYERS of both sides will use to defend their respective clients.  Obviously, the lawyers of the red car will argue that aside from the patrol car bumping their client, their client has the right of way considering that he is in the main road and the police car came from what looks like a side road.  They will definitely use Section 43 of RA 4136 and argue that the police violated this:

Section 43. Exception to the right of way rule.
 (c) The driver of a vehicle entering a "through highway" or a "stop intersection" shall yield the right of way to all vehicles approaching to either direction on such "through highway": Provided, That nothing in this subsection shall be construed as relieving the driver of any vehicle being operated on a "through highway" from the duty of driving with due regard for the safety of vehicles entering such "through highway" nor as protecting the said driver from the consequence of an arbitrary exercise off such right of way.

I have no argument about or against this.

But if I am the lawyer of the police car (assuming that it is not a police car ha), I will also cite the same provision but highlight the last part that states:

Provided, That nothing in this subsection shall be construed as relieving the driver of any vehicle being operated on a "through highway" from the duty of driving with due regard for the safety of vehicles entering such "through highway" nor as protecting the said driver from the consequence of an arbitrary exercise off such right of way.

Moreover, I will also cite the first traffic rule there is in the book:  Restriction as to speed.  It says:

Section 35. Restriction as to speed. -
(a) Any person driving a motor vehicle on a highway shall drive the same at a careful and prudent speed, not greater nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard for the traffic, the width of the highway, and of any other condition then and there existing; and no person shall drive any motor vehicle upon a highway at such a speed as to endanger the life, limb and property of any person, nor at a speed greater than will permit him to bring the vehicle to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead.
(b) Subject to the provisions of the preceding paragraph, the rate of speed of any motor vehicle shall not exceed the following:

MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE SPEEDS
Passengers
Cars and Motorcycle
Motor trucks and buses
1. On open country roads, with no "blinds corners" not closely bordered by habitations.
80 km. per hour
50 km. per hour
2. On "through streets" or boulevards, clear of traffic, with no " blind corners," when so designated.
40 km. per hour
30 km. per hour
3. On city and municipal streets, with light traffic, when not designated "through streets".
30 km. per hour
30 km. per hour
4. Through crowded streets, approaching intersections at "blind corners," passing school zones, passing other vehicles which are stationery, or for similar dangerous circumstances.
20 km. per hour
20 km. per hour

The first picture clearly shows a highway with a 40Kmh limit and I believe that it can even be 30Kmh.  Now, reexamine the damages of the cars, especially the bumper of the patrol car.  The bumper clearly received a FORWARD-moving force that it protruded outward after the contact.  The forward-moving direction of the force is reinforced by the direction of the shatter of the debris of the head lamp of the patrol car.

And look at the damage of the red car.  The bumper scraped it from the middle of the driver side door up to the rear bumper!  At what speed are you travelling to incur these damages?

These pieces of evidence clearly support a speeding red car!

And how about the speed of the patrol car?  If it is speeding or even just continued to move forward after the impact--and it hit the red car in that place--the red car would have spun out of control.  Just search for videos of PIT maneuvers and see what I mean.

So what section of RA 4136 shall I invoke then?  I will counteract their claim of “Right of Way” with the same section but highlight the last part:

Section 42. Right of way.
(a) When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right, except as otherwise hereinafter provided.  The driver of any vehicle traveling at an unlawful speed shall forfeit any right of way which he might otherwise have hereunder.

Further, here is another argument in favor of the patrol car:

Look at this picture again:


This shows that both front wheels of the patrol car are already on the correct lane on impact.  This also means that it has already completely crossed the opposite lane and is midway of completely entering its lane.  This means that the patrol car had already spent considerable time in the middle of the highway doing the maneuver.  Now, judging by the width of the road, the red car has to swerve to the right to get past the patrol car to its final rest.  This supports the very possibility that the red car is speeding and had no more time to react to evade the slow turning patrol car entering the highway from the left.  Because of its speed, it was left with no other recourse but to make evasive actions by swerving to the right.  But alas, there is no more space to maneuver, thus the collision.

Another thing going for the patrol car is the fact that the impact point is in its blind side and the damage on the red car is in its driver side.  The correct action for the red car is to apply the brakes and yield the right of way to the patrol car considering the very big possibility that during the maneuver, he cannot be seen by the driver because he is coming from a direction COMPLETELY OBSTRUCTED by the body of the vehicle!  There is no skid marks on the road to show that the driver even attempted to brake...

Now what is my conclusion here?

It can be argued that both drivers are at fault.  The red car for driving at an unsafe speed for the road conditions and the patrol car for failing to exercise due caution for stupid drivers in the highway.

But if the patrol car invokes this section of RA 4136 over and above the arguments I previously discussed, it is game over for the red car:

Section 43. Exception to the right of way rule.
 (b) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway shall yield the right of way to police or fire department vehicles and ambulances when such vehicles are operated on official business and the drivers thereof sound audible signal of their approach.
As facebook user Doc Chan said, patrolling is an official business.  The use of siren and blinkers are governed by other rules and regulations in the PNP so even if it is not turned on, it does not mean that the patrol car is on non-official business.

Though not really shocking by any means, this incident and the arguments put forward by netizens reinforced my long-held belief:  there are lots of uneducated drivers on the road including policemen.  That former traffic investigator Nick Joven is a prime example of policemen who thought that they know things but actually do not because they did not bother to read the fundamental law governing traffic in the Philippines, specifically RA 4136.  I am speaking from experience as I had met a lot of policemen who have yet to read that law!  Many policemen are like Nick Joven who lived through "oido" and believed that "kung sino ang bumannga ay sya ang mali."  His views were echoed by another facebook user Mike Reyes who holds common beliefs that were actually wrong as can be seen by this post:

Maliwanag na yong pulang kotse ang binanga ng patrol car. Papano makaka iwas yong pulang kotse kong sa likod ka binanga. Ang tanong dyan if naka siren ba ang mobile car? Kung hindi ay may panalo ka......


Reyes also made this post:

Pwedeng magbyahe kahit walang plate number provided na insured ang sasakyan mo at may or/cr kang dala...

Well, i will not cite the section in 4136 that will debunk this notion.  instead, I will use a simple practical example:

Cop asking a witness:  Nakita mo ba ang plate number ng sasakyan na bumangga sa apo ni Mr. Mike Reyes?

Witness:  Hindi po e.  Wala kasing plaka.  Pero nakita ko, pulang Toyota Altis...

Will Mr. Reyes still hold the same views if this happens to him in real life?  This is a very common scenario, mind you!


As for the policemen involved in this case, they showed their extreme ignorance not only in traffic laws but also in other laws when they forced the other party to sign documents, especially so that many of these documents are against the interests of the other party.  Basic mga iho:  Kailangan nila ang abogado.  Kahit na pirmahan pa nila ng dugo nila yan kung walang abogado, wala pa ring kwenta yan.  And they also threatened to impound the red car?  Stupid really.  They should have taken a page from the book of another poster Angelus Ilacad who correctly pointed out that if the two parties cannot settle who is at fault, then the correct recourse is to go to the courts by filing the case.

This brings to mind another fender bender that happened some years back that involved another PNP Senior Inspector.  Interviewed on TV, he concluded the illustration of who is at fault by saying, “Simple lang yan.  Tingnan mo sa report.  Ako ang vehicle 1 at sila ang Vehicle 2.  So ako ang tama.”

Really?

Stupid really…


As for Top Gear, well, they are pathological liars especially when it comes to things against the PNP.  Here is my earlier article about them…
http://pulisnapogi.blogspot.com/2014/11/top-gear-philippines-magazine.html

9 comments:

  1. ilipat ko lang ang naligaw na comment:

    tama po yan sir, marami sa mga traffic investigator sa mga istasyon ang walang training or orientation man lang at ang preference nila, kung sino bumangga, yun ang may kasalanan...at wala pa masyadong alam ukol sa right of way..kasi po, hindi naman lahat ng pulis or investigator ay naiintidihan nila lalo't kulang sa application...siguro ay yun ang pagtuunan ng pansin at pagpapahalaga ng ating mga administrator sa taas na dapat equipped ng knowedge at skills ang mga fielders sa ibaba. kung schooling nga ng investigation course ay basta lang naglecture, basta lang may grumaduate at nacertify na 100% fully trained na mga field investigators pero wala namang natutunan sa actual na sitwasyon...hindi yung puro certification sa PGS na walang kwenta, e-learning na walang learning! Puro papogi ng bagong hepe...korapsyong talamak hindi man lang natutukan at nasolusyunan...

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  2. Look at this video and it approximates what happened to the police car. Note that there doesn't need to be speed to inflict that much damage.

    https://www.facebook.com/484955348271752/videos/641708659263086/

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    1. he video is a very informative video in favor of the patrol car because the circumstances in this video is quite different from that of the tagaytay one. while in this case, the sedan is actually at fault, it reveals something that we can apply to the tagaytay case. in this video, the sedan entered the intersection at the 0:07 mark and the impact is at the 0:13 mark or a lapse of 6 seconds. even after 6 seconds, the nose of the sedan had barely crossed the midline. compare this to the tagaytay incident where the TWO front wheels of the patrol car was already across the midline, then it can be safely said that the patrol car is already in the intersection for not less than 10 seconds--enough time for the red car to apply the brakes and give way to a MARKED vehicle. and the impact point in the bus is at the rearmost portion while in the red sedan, the damage started at the driver-side door. so what gives?

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  3. the police vehicle should have made a full stop and waited until it's a clear go meaning no more incoming vehicle and safe to cross. But instead clearly by looking at the position of the police vehicle it made a rollover slow merge and didn't even attempt to stop to see/look for incoming vehicle to his right.

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    1. ows. i really think the red car was speeding, thus the accident. but well, as i have said before, both have varying degrees if liability and fault...

      salamat sa visit and comment!

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  4. police car is the ogre......me thinks.

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  5. Based on the facts presented here, the red car is at fault. Failure to yield or slow down to accommodate the cruiser.

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    Replies
    1. tama po. maloko talagang magpresent ang top gear.

      salamat sa visit!

      Delete

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