Vehicles that are not roadworthy or dangerous to use are dubbed “rolling coffins” as they may cause death or injury. Badly maintained container trucks and passenger buses once had that label, too, when a series of accidents involving such vehicles killed or maimed dozens of motorists, passengers and pedestrians in the past.
But the “rolling coffin” of Cebuano Gabriel Bernedo begs to differ. Inspired by a casket converted into a car that was built by a Mexican, Bernedo made his own version using the coffin that once accommodated the remains of his mother-in-law who died from a heart attack and an electric tricycle.
Bernedo, a car and casket collector (he donates used caskets to those who cannot afford one), made the “Impas,” a Cebuano word that means “done.” He spent P12,000 to produce the car complete with signal lights.
During his test drive, people who saw the invention were impressed of Bernedo’s creativity and skill. But driving the “Impas” on the road literally made it a rolling coffin. Being small and leaving Bernedo exposed in his fancy motor cart, other drivers may miss and run him over.
When asked if Bernedo’s casket car can be driven on main roads, Danny Ensela, Land Transportation Office (LTO) assistant chief, reminded that electric trikes are banned on highways and can only be driven inside villages.
Bernedo didn’t want to follow his mother-in-law to the grave so he heeded the LTO official’s safety advice.