LAOAG CITY – The Ilocos Norte police announced Wednesday that starting Dec. 16, all drivers and riders of motorcycles and bicycles will be required to wear high visibility vests when passing through the national highway and all provincial, city/municipal, and village roads within the province at night.
This is under Provincial Ordinance No. 046-2023 passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in July to minimize road accidents by ensuring visibility and road safety.
"For now, motorists and their backriders are given until Dec. 16 to obtain their own reflectorized vests. Those who are unable to use reflectorized vests after Dec. 16 will be fined,” Col. Julius Suriben, provincial director of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office, said in a media interview.
To ensure the strict implementation of the ordinance and avoid penalties for would-be violators, a massive information drive is ongoing in the province.
The ordinance, which also covers electric bicycles or e-bikes, tricycles, "kurong-kurong" (makeshift sidecar) and farm machinery, will be in force between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily and when visibility is poor due to bad weather.
The provincial administrator, in cooperation with the municipality and barangay local government units, will work together with the Philippine National Police and the Land Transportation Office to deputize apprehending officers.
The corresponding penalties for violators range from PHP500 to PHP1,500 for the first, second, and third offenses or its equivalent community service from three to seven days.
Data obtained from the Ilocos Norte police showed a total of 222 road mishaps from Jan. 1 to Dec. 6 this year.
Suriben said most of the accidents were caused by “human error” such as miscalculation, reckless driving, driving under the influence of liquor, overspeeding, and overtaking.
While making an effort to strengthen the ethics and education of drivers, the Ilocos Norte police hope that there will be fewer vehicular traffic incidents after the ordinance is fully implemented.
As of this posting, many tricycle drivers are already seen wearing high-visibility vests along the national highway. (PNA)