Photo by Ernie Peñaredondo/STAR

LTO to punish motorists who race against incoming trains

If you flirt with disaster by trying to beat an incoming train, the LTO will come after you — if death doesn’t.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has directed the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to sanction drivers who will not stop at railroad crossings.

Following a vehicular incident involving a Philippine National Railway (PNR) train, the DOTr has ordered the LTO to establish an enforcement mechanism for vehicles crossing the railroad tracks of the PNR.

DOTr Undersecretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark de Leon said that implementing the system will immediately penalize erring motorists. “Through an enforcement system, violators cannot just get away with their misbehavior. We will be able to determine those who deliberately and habitually disobey our traffic rules on rail lines,” De Leon said.

According to Section 42 (d) of Republic Act No. 4136, “a driver shall bring his/her vehicle to a full stop before traversing any railroad crossing.“

Apart from ensuring the safety of the public, De Leon underscored the need to preserve the country’s railway infrastructure “given the high capital cost of these systems.” The directive came after the PNR asked the assistance of the DOTr to punish drivers who deliberately cross the railroad despite incoming trains which eventually result in damage to property, injury, and sometimes even death. 

The call came on the heels of a PNR-van collision which injured 10 people in Calamba, Laguna. According to the investigation, the van crossed the rail track despite the approaching train. 

Several houses and a tricycle were destroyed when the van was dragged by the train through the railway.

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