NO FINE RIDE AFTER ALL
That fancy horn, and gaudy lights you installed in your car may cost you an arm and a leg under new DOTC order already in force
by Carine M. Asutilla and Kristal A. Eduyan
Customizing your car or motorcycle to tailor-fit it to your personality or interests may set you back by a few thousands – not because of the accessories and work done on your ride – but due to the fines and penalties that will be enforced by authorities.
An official of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) made this warning yesterday before a gathering of Cebuano motorcycle enthusiasts where he together with other officials were invited to shed light on the provisions of a controversial Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) administrative order which took effect June 19.
Joel Maloloy-on, head of operations of the regional office of the LTO, said provisions of the DOTC Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, which substantially increased fines and penalties for violations of laws, rules and regulations governing land transportation, prohibit vehicle owners from “illegally” making modifications on their vehicles.
JAO 2014-01 was drafted by the LTO and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and was issued by the DOTC last June 4. The order purportedly aims to instill discipline among drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs), prevent road accidents, ease the perennial traffic jams, clamp down on unregistered or “colorum” vehicles, among others.
JAO 2014-01 took effect after the Supreme Court failed to grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) filed against it by several transport groups last June 10.
Spotlight on the controversial order was initially caused by an announcement by the LTFRB that bus operators caught operating a “colorum” unit face a hefty P1 million.
But the 24-page order has more to offer.
At yesterday’s forum at the barangay Mabolo gym, Maloloy-on said vehicle owners who install accessories that are not in the manufacturer’s standard set of specification will risk getting penalized with a P5,000 fine.
The vehicle “shall also be impounded and released only upon inspection, correction of defect and payment of the fine.”
The order’s provision further reads: “The improper or unauthorized accessory, device, equipment or part shall likewise be confiscated in favor of the government.”
Using a motorcycle that was brought inside the sports complex as an example, the LTO official pointed at several accessories which he said violates Section II of the JAO.
“Any accessory like lights, mag wheels, tires, blinkers or horn that are not standard is considered illegal,” he explained.
Maloloy-on added that the rationale of the prohibition is that modifying any part of the vehicle would compromise safety.
The restriction did not sit well with the motoring public.
Ralph Go, president of the Vega Force Riders Pack, said not all accessories and modifications pose danger to motorcycle riders.
“There are accessories that even enhances safety and convenience,” he said in the forum.
June Berongan, a member of the Yamaha Fino Club also said that changing the lights or putting more lights on a motorcycle does not compromise safety.
“It only beautifies their unit,” he said.
LTO’s Maloloy-on said vehicle owners will not be considered in violation of the JAO if they could present a certification from the manufacturer that the modifications made or accessories installed will not compromise the vehicle’s standard specifications.
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