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PNP-HPG wants ban on use of tinted, dark helmets

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 149

THE Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) is pushing for a law that will require
drivers of below 400cc motorcycles to wear half-face helmets only as another measure to prevent
Riding-in-Tandem Criminals from covering their faces each time they rob or kill an unsuspecting target
in the streets, the Journal Group learned yesterday.

The PNP-HPG headed by Chief Superintendent Arnel B. Escobal has also expressed full support to
the prohibition of ‘tinted or dark’ motorcycle helmet face shield and the use of bonnets or
‘balaclava’ that obscure or hide the identity of motorcycle-riding criminals.
    
Motorists must know that the approved helmet requires a hard outer shell to protect the head
from penetration of deadly objects, a soft inner shell which acts as a cushion when the head receives
any type of impact, and a retention system to keep the helmet properly in place.
    
What the PNP-HPG is proposing is a half-face helmet that will not only block the senses of the
rider but will also comply with the three basic things needed to protect them from head injuries in
case of an accident.
    
In a meeting with members of the Technical Working Group of the House of Representatives’
Committee on Transportation to discuss amendments to Republic Act 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act
of 2010, PNP-HPG officials led by Senior Supt. Ulysses C. Caton and Supt. Oliver S. Tanseco discussed
the different types of motorcycle helmets and their safety advantages and the law enforcement and
legal requirements of positive identification of suspects in criminal cases.
    
In pushing for a quality half-face helmet, the PNP-HPG cited a number of incidents wherein
motorcycle riders figured in either fatal or non-fatal accidents while wearing full-face helmets which
affect their sense of sight, smell and hearing.
    
There were incidents in which riders who were having their tanks filled failed to smell that
gasoline has already spilled from their tanks and their motorbike has started to catch fire by
accident.
    
“They can’t smell the gasoline, they can’t hear the people shouting ‘fire’ because they were
wearing a full-face helmet,” Escobal said.
    
The official said  full-face helmets are actually being worn by race car and motorcycle
drivers around the world although they found their way into the country many years ago. These full-
face helmets actually prevent the driver from breathing easily and obstruct his view.
    
“Actually, professional race car and motorcycle drivers use full-face helmets since they are
fitted with gadgets that allow them to talk and get instructions while driving,” Escobal said.

There is also the thing called ‘hygiene’ when using full-face helmet.  A brand-new full-face
helmet easily absorbs the breathe and saliva of the user that after weeks or months of continuous use,
the smell clings to the helmet’s soft materials and can’t be removed even when soaked in water,
alcohol or fragrant fabric softener.
    
Discussed during the recent Congress hearing  were the growing number of road crash deaths and
injuries involving motorcycle riders and their passengers; the opposition of motorcycle
clubs/organizations on the proposal to suspend the mandatory use of helmets by local government units
due to the growing crime incidents involving RIT criminals; and the PNP’s action to address
motorcycle-riding criminals including the conduct of checkpoints, police visibility patrols and
fielding of tactical motorcycle-riding units to preempt the presence of the armed criminals and pursue
them in case they’re able to hit a target.
    
In 2010, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Mandatory Helmet Act of 2010 which
requires all motorcycle drivers and their passengers to wear helmets at all times and imposed stiff
penalties on violators. The law, however, was postponed until January 1, 2013.
    
Republic Act 10054, authored by then Senator Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr. was enacted to protect
motorcycle drivers, back-riders as well as pedestrians from injuries and death in accidents.
    
The law, however, exempts drivers of tricycles -- a motorcycle with a side cab, which is a
common mode of transport in the country -- from wearing helmets.
    
“From narrow streets to major thoroughfares, motorcycles and scooters are a common sight every
day and night. Wearing helmets will greatly reduce fatalities in road accidents and would also
(foster) a sense of discipline in all motorcycle riders,” Revilla said.
    
The former lawmaker, however, said it took a long while to see his measure enacted into law
although there are an estimated nearly 4 million motorcycles registered in the country.
    
Revilla said that studies have shown that good helmets and their proper use are estimated to
be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries and 67 percent effective in preventing brain
damage to motorcycle drivers and their passengers.
    
Under the law, those who will be caught not wearing protective helmets face a minimum fine of
P1,500 and a maximum penalty of P10,000. The law requires the Department of Trade and Industry to
conduct mandatory tests on all locally manufactured and imported motorcycle helmets in the country.
    
Manufacturers and importers of motorcycle helmets are also required to secure a Philippine
Standard mark or an import commodity clearance before they can sell and distribute their products or
pay a fine of P10,000 to P20,000 if they violate the provision.