The Philippines has a less than a year old president and people are looking for fresh perspectives on how to tackle the mind boggling concerns of running a metropolitan area in a developing context. This time, gender is the center of attention, at least, at this moment in time of the new year, to calm the nerves of many. It is a generally disheartening situation in the Philippines– this urgent job of addressing safety issues in the context of a (1) fossil fuel dominated and predominantly privately owned vehicles in the public transportation system (2) reality where it is difficult to enforce-the-rules for the public good.
On Behalf Of Roselle Leah K. Rivera
Sent: Monday, 10 January, 2011 10:01
MMDA: WOMEN MAKE BETTER, SAFER BUS DRIVERS
By Miko Morelos Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 22:55:00 01/09/2011
Here s a proposal from the head of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) that might stir up yet another debate between the sexes.
According to MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, one way to reduce accidents on the roads would be to put women behind the wheel of public utility buses (PUBs) since according to studies, the fairer sex are safer drivers. As if to prove his point, he cited the string of accidents involving male drivers since the start of the year and said that female PUB drivers should make commuting a lot safer than it is now.
Help from LTFRBIn a text message to reporters, Tolentino said he plans to course his proposal through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
In turn, he expected the LTFRB to encourage operators and owners of public utility vehicles (PUV) to be more open to hiring women as drivers, Tolentino added.
He pointed out that since most of the leaders of transport groups were women, the ideal situation would be to allot half of the slots for drivers to women or better yet, 100 percent. Tolentino said that [women] drivers would give [operators] less headaches because they are more safety-conscious. He cited scientific studies conducted recently in the United States that indicated that women were less aggressive behind the wheel, more law-abiding and concerned about the condition of the vehicles that they were driving. It s in the genes of the males who tend to be hot-headed on the road, he added.
Comparative studies: Although Tolentino did not specify what studies he was referring to, a check by the Inquirer of different news websites showed supporting conclusions from comparative studies of men and women drivers.In August 2010, the New York Times published a story based on a study of a city traffic survey conducted by the New York Transportation Commission.
According to the study, women were less likely to figure in road accidents than men.Also last year, the Jerusalem Post ran an article citing a nongovernment organization s analysis of a survey regarding drivers in Israel. The conclusion was similar to the New York study’s findings.
More men in fatal mishaps Records of traffic mishaps also showed that lady drivers are seldom involved in fatal accidents, Tolentino continued as he pointed out that drunk drivers who figured in deadly crashes were mostly men.
He also said that men were more likely to be traffic offenders compared with women.A cursory glance of insurance records further showed that female drivers figured in fewer road accidents, Tolentino added.
Besides, female drivers wear seatbelts, the MMDA chairman said.
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ROSELLE LEAH K RIVERA
Faculty Department of Women and Development Studies College of Social Work and Community Development
University of the Philippines Diliman Quezon City PHILIPPINES