On Quezon City’s roads, death awaits drivers as the night deepens.
If you’re one of them, your chances of dying in a road crash peak from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) show.
Yet, in these deadliest hours, the streets are clear of traffic enforcers who can help save your lives.
From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., traffic enforcers take turns manning the city’s busiest roads, each of them stationed at “choke points” or areas notorious for heavy traffic. Beyond these hours or when most fatal crashes happen, the roads are unguarded.
Quezon City recorded a total of 33,717 road crashes last year, the highest in Metro Manila according to the MMDA.
For the government, it’s traffic over safety. In fielding the bulk of enforcers, officials prioritize congested roads over crash-prone ones. “Our deployment depends on where there is heavy traffic, or where areas are congested,” said Glenda Lim, chief of Police Community Relations at the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG.)
Black spots, or areas notorious for road crashes, come secondary in traffic deployment, even as studies have shown the presence of traffic enforcers deters reckless driving behavior that results in road crashes.
Quezon City’s deadliest roads, ranked by data science firm Thinking Machines based on the number of road crashes in 2016, are EDSA, Commonwealth Avenue, Quirino Highway, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Aurora Boulevard, Andres Bonifacio Avenue and E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue.
Of these roads, there’s a higher likelihood of enforcer response in the event of a crash in EDSA, Commonwealth and Katipunan, compared to other roads.
VERA Files, culling traffic deployment data from the MMDA, PNP-HPG, the Quezon City police and the local Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS), ranked the city’s crash-prone roads based on enforcer to crash ratio.
The enforcer to crash ratio corresponds to the number of enforcers likely to respond to a crash on a particular road on a given day.
If a crash occurred in Katipunan Avenue, there are 47 enforcers likely to respond on a given day.
If it happened in Commonwealth Avenue, once dubbed the country’s “killer highway,” there are 33 enforcers who are likely available to assist.
In 2016, Commonwealth Avenue recorded over 2,000 crashes, the second highest in the city next to EDSA, which saw over 4,000 crashes.
Along EDSA’s various junctions from Balintawak to Santolan in Quezon City, there are some 23 enforcers who are likely to attend to you in the event of a road crash.
Notably, Katipunan, Commonwealth and EDSA are notorious for heavy traffic, thus the abundance of enforcers.
Lim of the PNP-HPG, a member of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, says EDSA is already “safe.” The goal, after all, is to facilitate the movement of vehicles though slow, she said.
Yet, in other roads with fewer choke points but are equally high-risk, the odds of being saved get smaller.
One’s chances of being saved may be higher in Katipunan, which has 160 percent more enforcers than in Aurora Boulevard with only 18 enforcers likely to respond on a given day.
More, the 12-kilometer Commonwealth Avenue has 100 percent more enforcers than in Quirino Highway, despite having the same length. On a given day, Quirino only has 15 enforcers who are likely available to assist.
(To be continued)