Aggressive Driving among College students.(Opinion &Amp; Editorial)

Article excerpt

Byline: Isagana F. Yuzon, D.P.A.

DRIVING among college students in Metro Manila is gradually becoming a norm a way of life. More and more students have taken to the streets as drivers as soon as they start college education. Some may have formal behind-the-wheel driver training, that is, in a driving school, but a drivers license holder such as a father, elder brother or uncle may have trained most. Novice drivers run the greatest risk of committing traffic violations and suffering crash accidents not only because of the lack of proper driver education but also because of the inherent nature of being young, less mature and less experienced.

More traffic in Metro Manila roads than ever before is creating considerable congestion in urban population centers partly due to the evergrowing number of college students who have taken to the roads. The government is working to build new thoroughfares to relieve the congestion, but lack of land and money are major hurdles. Land acquisition and construction costs are skyrocketing.

Recently, traffic behavior known as aggressive driving has attracted significant media attention. The practice of driving aggressively is not new, but now it seems more widespread and even acceptable in our fast paced society of today. It has gained considerable media attention nationally when several aggressive driving incidents went beyond traffic violations and erupted into criminal acts. Some people have been assaulted either with a motor vehicle or other weapon, and still others have died.

Aggressive drivers create an unsafe driving environment through their inconsiderate, selfcentered driving habits. Drivers often commit multiple violations, including driving over the speed limit, following too closely, erratic or unsafe lane changes, improperly signaling lane changes, and failure to obey traffic signal lights. Because of these driving behaviors, hundreds of deaths and injuries occur each year, and contribute to the growing problems of hazardous traffic conditions and those criminal acts related to aggressive driving.

Professionals from various disciplines have begun working to find the answer to this increasing problem. Some psychologists and psychiatrists are approaching the issue from an emotional perspective, studying anger control and stress reduction techniques. A number of law enforcement agencies have launched a variety of operations to target enforcement of traffic laws commonly associated with aggressive driving. In conjunction with the enforcement, they are conducting media campaign on increasing awareness and educating the motoring public about aggressive driving and basic traffic laws.

During the last Congress, Congressman Raul M. Gonzales, in recognition of this situation, filed House Bill No. 11911 titled "An Act Making Road Rage an Aggravating Circumstance, Amending for the Purpose The Revised Penal Code, As Amended." The explanatory note of the bill reads that "while it is true that oftentimes unfavorable conditions on the road stimulate shortness of tempers and raise blood pressures, it is nevertheless unjustifiable to commit acts of violence just to assuage one's injured feelings resulting from perceived insults received from fellow motorists, most especially when such infractions may have been inadvertent and unintended. …