Traffic > Mishap

This SUV driver has the balls to admit error in St. Luke’s BGC crash

Dispelling whispers of sudden unintended acceleration

Imagine if there had been people in the area. PHOTO FROM VIBER GROUP

Yesterday, a video of an SUV crash at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City went viral. In said CCTV footage, the vehicle is seen breaching the entrance to the hospital’s elevator area in the basement, narrowly missing a security guard. Fortunately, there were no other people around when the incident happened.

It was a short video, and nobody could say for sure what the cause was. When supplementary photos showed that the vehicle was a current-model Mitsubishi Montero Sport, talks of “sudden unintended acceleration” resurfaced. But was this really SUA or simply driver error?

Well, it seems we can definitively answer this question now as ABS-CBN reports that the Taguig police have gone on record as saying that this was a case of driver error. From the report:

Senior Supt. Alexander Santos, Taguig City police chief, said Thursday [that] driver Johann Dizon admitted to them that he made an error in driving his Mitsubishi Montero Sport. The 53-year-old SUV driver also blamed his “old age” for the mishap that happened at around 7:30am, according to Santos.

If the report is accurate and final, we salute the driver for owning up to his blunder. Finally, a driver involved in this type of accident has formally admitted that the crash was his own doing and not the car’s. In case you haven’t noticed, Filipino motorists are probably among the very worst in the world when it comes to accepting accountability for a road accident. This is precisely why we always see two drivers involved in a minor fender-bender quarreling in the middle of the road, refusing to move their vehicles even if they’re already causing major gridlock, and insisting that the other party is to blame.

So a guy telling the police that an accident was squarely his fault is quite refreshing. No making up stories about mechanical gremlins just to escape culpability. Salute, Mr. Dizon.

When a Montero Sport is involved, we all speculate. PHOTO FROM VIBER GROUP

As for the Montero Sport in this case, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation senior marketing manager Arlan Reyes told VISOR that the unit was not equipped with the so-called Ultrasonic Misacceleration Mitigation System and the equally mouthful Forward Collision Mitigation System, which would have prevented the SUV from lurching forward even if the driver was stepping on the accelerator. These safety systems have sensors that can detect if there are objects in the car’s path, and will not transmit the engine power to the wheels if such obstacles are present.

How did Reyes know that the Montero Sport in the video did not have the above-mentioned safety systems? Because these systems are only available on the GT variant, and the unit involved in the crash was a different variant, according to the Mitsubishi executive. And how did he ascertain this?

“From the pictures circulating, it does not have a sunroof and a rear spoiler,” Reyes explained. “Definitely not a GT.”

So there. Case closed? We hope so.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist for 26 years. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.