Speed limits and Duterte - Weekend

Speed limits and Duterte

Jerome NeriAtty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

ELECTIONS are over and Rody Duterte wins by a landslide. In the motoring world, Duterte is known for imposing a speed limit in the City of Davao, where he was Mayor for may years. Since he will assume office on July 1, I started practicing driving at the Davao speed limit of 30kph, as this speed limit might be implemented nationwide.

When I got out of the gate of my house, and started driving, I was immediately over 30 kph and going over the speed bumps in my village very comfortably at 35 kph, the usual normal speed I go over the speed bumps. I had to slow down some more. As I got out of the village and to to Archbishop Reyes Ave., I made sure I pegged my speed at 30 kph. I instantly became a road obstruction. I was holding up traffic. Every single vehicle zoomed past me, even bicycles. 30 kph is indeed an unreasonable speed limit. It is just way too slow.

Would Davao’s speed limits work in Cebu and other metropolitan areas in the country?
Would Davao’s speed limits work in Cebu and other metropolitan areas in the country?

As 30 kph must have been an arbitrary number picked by our elected President and had it implemented, it is clear there were no consultations made when this speed limit was enforced in Davao City. I called my friends in Davao and asked them about the speed limit and they agreed that it is unreasonably slow, but they manage to get around it as they have radar detectors, so they slow down when there is a speed gun around.

Since I found 30kph too slow, I kept on driving trying to figure out what would a reasonable speed limit be on normal city streets like Archbishop Reyes Avenue. To me the proper speed limit in the city streets would be 60 kph, double that of what is implemented in Davao City.

I believe 60 kph is reasonable because while driving around the City in a safe and responsible manner, I am doing between 40 to about 55 kph. That is the normal speeds reached with normal and safe driving.

I can concentrate on driving 100 percent without going over 60 kph. At 30 kph, I am making extra effort to make sure I am at 30 kph. It is an unnatural speed at our city roads when there is moderate traffic.

Concentrating to keep the car at 30 kph is a big distraction to driving as it becomes another thing to think about. It may actually be a more accident prone speed limit than 60 kph.

On the highways in Davao City, the speed limit is 60 kph. It too is unreasonable for a highway. A reasonable one would be 100 kph, as it would be easy to cruise between 80 to 90 kph.

If we were to apply the Davao speed limits here in Cebu, it would mean that in highly populated cities and municipalities, the speed limit would be 30 and 60 on the highways along the less populated ones. Therefore, from Cebu City to Carcar would have a speed limit of 30kph. After Carcar and onward, 60 kph. In the North, the 30 kph would be up to Liloan. Thus, if you have to travel from Carcar to Liloan it would be a night mare at 30 kph, you can only use up to second gear in a manual car.

I believe that for every type of road, there is a equilibrium where a diligent and careful driver can drive himself, his passengers safely and at the same time keep others around him safe. Slightly higher than this equilibrium should be the speed limit for that particular road. Having a speed limit below this equilibrium would actually lessen safety as the driver will have to concentrate more on the speed he is traveling instead of his surroundings.

I do hope the President revisits his speed limit in Davao and when he chooses to do the same nationwide, he will get experts to recommend the proper speed limits.

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