Lawmaker Wants Driver, PUV Info Posted

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A LAWMAKER wants commuters to have access to information about the driver and the operator of the public-utility vehicle they are riding on, to “enhance their safety and protection.”

Based on House Bill 3767, which was filed by Rep. Lorna Velasco (AMA party list), laminated display cards bearing information about the driver, the operator and the vehicle must be posted conspicuously inside all PUVs. The information should also be “visible and readable to all passengers thereof.”

“The information will certainly empower the passengers and ease the process of reporting abuses and crimes committed against them by erring public-transport operators and/or the latter’s agents,” said Velasco. “It is a lamentable fact that, in some cases, the driver himself/herself is involved in the commission of these crimes. Also, a number of PUVs are being used as instruments to commit unlawful acts on a daily basis.”

According to the bill, the laminated display card shall include the complete name and the contact number of the driver, the driver’s picture, his or her license number and its date of expiration, and the complete name and contact number of the PUV’s operator or owner.
The display card shall also bear the PUV’s plate number, body number (whenever applicable), certificate of public convenience license number, authorized route as reflected in the PUV’s certificate of public convenience, and theLand Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board hotline or contact number.
If the bill is passed into law, its violators will be penalized and fined with “not more than P20,000 for the first offense and not more than P50,000 and suspension of the PUV’s franchise and driver’s license for the second offense.”

GM Names New Safety Chief Amid Recall Mess

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GENERAL Motors named a new vehicle safety chief on Tuesday in response to a growing scandal over its failure to react to an ignition switch defect linked to 12 deaths.

In the newly created position of vice president for global vehicle safety, Jeff Boyer will have responsibility for the safety during development and testing of GM vehicles.

He will also be responsible for monitoring reports of problems that occur with vehicles after they are sold, and issuing recalls as needed.

“This new role elevates and integrates our safety process under a single leader so we can set a new standard for customer safety with more rigorous accountability,” GM chief Mary Barra said in a statement.

“If there are any obstacles in his way, Jeff has the authority to clear them. If he needs any additional resources, he will get them.”

The largest US automaker is facing multiple investigations by US authorities over its slowness to react to evidence linking a defective ignition switch to 31 accidents and 12 deaths in various models.

The problem was detected at the pre-production stage as early as 2001, but GM waited until last month to recall 1.6 million vehicles in North America.

The ignition recall is the first big crisis for Barra, who took the company’s helm on January 15 as the first woman to lead a major automaker.

Barra has responded forcefully, apologizing for the “terrible things” that happened after “something went wrong with our process” and vowing to make sure such mistakes don’t happen again.

She offered her condolences to the families of victims Tuesday, but the Detroit News reported that she declined to comment on whether GM would accept liability for accidents that happened prior to its 2009 emergence from bankruptcy.

“Clearly lives have been lost and lives have been affected and that is very serious,” Barra told reporters in Detroit.

“We want to extend our deep condolences for those losses.”

Barra launched an internal probe which resulted in the recall of nearly 1.8 million more vehicles Monday, for three different defects unrelated to the ignition problems.

Boyer, 58, has spent nearly 40 years in a wide range of engineering and safety positions at GM. He will provide regular updates to senior management and GM’s board of directors.

Compact Cars Drive Vehicle Sales Up

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VEHICLE sales of a group of importers climbed in the low double-digits last month on the back of brisk demand for passenger cars.

In a statement, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc (AVID) said its member-companies sold 2,675 units in February, 14 percent more than the 2,338 last year.

Last month’s performance brought the year-to-date tally to 5,866 units, up 18 percent from the 4,963 sold in the same two months of 2013.

Driving sales last month was the 26-percent increase in the number of passenger cars sold at 1,311 units from last year’s 1,043.

AVID attributed the uptick to sales of the Eon and Grand i10 models of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc (HARI).

The light commercial vehicle segment registered a slower five percent sales uptick at 1,364 units from last year’s 1,295.

“Sparked by unified drive of providing quality brand innovations, we at AVID remain committed to deliver value-rich experiences through premium customer service and pioneering world-class products,” the group’s president, Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo, said.