SPEAKING before members of the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) at the 85thannual general membership meeting of the motoring club a week ago, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Emerson Carlos said that educating and disciplining drivers is key to improving traffic flow in the megacity and is part of the agency’s No-Contact Apprehension Polcy.
Carlos claimed that more than 4,000 traffic violations were recorded on camera within a few days after the MMDA’s No Contact Apprehension Policy was initiated on April 15.
Alluding to the list of areas where the MMDA CCTV cameras are located that went viral on social media, Carlos commented: “For us Filipinos, it has become a habit that when the government issues a policy, the first thing we think of is how to cheat the system. And with this list out, does this mean that people do not abide by traffic rules when no one is watching?”
Carlos confirmed that the list is correct but stressed that it is a year old and only includes some of the cameras installed along EDSA, C-5 Road and Commonwealth Avenue. The number of CCTV cameras the MMDA has installed since then is over and above what appears on the list.
During his speech, Carlos took the opportunity to paint a vivid picture of Metro Manila’s traffic scene and how the country’s current traffic predicament blew up over the past six years.
He pointed out that “cars accounted for the biggest share of total vehicular accidents from 2012 to 2015 which is half of the 641,000 recorded accidents by the MMDA Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System.“
“We need to educate an average of 57,000 new drivers every year in Metro Manila,” he added, basing this statement on Land Transportation Office (LTO) records showing a steady annual increase of 5 percent in new motor vehicle registrations from 2008 to 2014.
In 2014, new car registrations were reported at 67,100 in Metro Manila alone. From 2008 to 2014, the LTO recorded over 2.3 million new motor vehicle registrations. On the basis of one driver to one vehicle ratio, that’s an average of almost 60,000 drivers to educate yearly, Carlos said.
“There are big problems on our streets,” the MMDA chief admitted. But he acknowledged that the traffic crisis has brought opportunities for the MMDA and AAP to champion their shared advocacies on road safety and driver education.
In the education component of the No Contact Apprehension Policy, MMDA gets erring drivers who have exceeded three apprehensions to attend seminars to rectify driving mistakes and wayward conduct on the road.
Carlos also cited the MMDA’s Children’s Road Safety Park located at Adriatico Street in Manila that has attracted over 280,000 visitors from 2012 to 2016.
“At an early age, children who visit the park learn traffic rules and road safety in a controlled environment with miniature structures like bike lanes, road signs, steel foot bridges, sidewalks with curves, drainage areas, and traffic signals,” Carlos said.
The MMDA chairman alluded to statistics further, stating that increased vehicle sales contributed greatly to the multitude of interrelated factors causing traffic congestion in the metro.