A useless campaign | Inquirer Opinion

A useless campaign

/ 01:05 AM May 27, 2011

WHILE I recognize the effort of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to limit the cruising speed at Commonwealth Avenue to 60 kph, I must say the program, which deploys MMDA personnel (with radar guns/cameras) on footbridges, along with speed limit signs, to catch violators, is close to useless. And the recent tragedy that took the life of journalist Lourdes “Chit” Estella-Simbulan proves the point. For two fundamental reasons:

1. The MMDA personnel do their business only during daytime. But the “hell drivers” usually do their speeding and reckless driving at night and during unholy morning hours when traffic is much lighter. It’s obvious for motorists using Commonwealth Avenue regularly, like myself, that as soon as the clock hits 5 p.m., there’ll be no more of those MMDA personnel monitoring the speed of vehicles. Did the MMDA do its homework before this program was implemented? Even without statistical data, most viewers of the nightly news can readily conclude that fatal accidents on this reputed “killer highway” usually happen during ungodly hours when traffic is very light.

2. There is no element of instant punishment with this program. Most drivers will not be deterred by the “eye in the sky” especially when the whole campaign has not been well communicated in the first place. I am willing to bet that more than half of motorists along Commonwealth Avenue aren’t even aware of the presence of MMDA personnel on footbridges. With the general lack of discipline of drivers, especially public utility drivers, what is needed are patrol cops on motorcycles with the same radar guns, who will chase erring motorists and give them traffic tickets on the spot. Especially beyond daytime. Enforcement visibility is simply absent from this program. And sorry, the speed limit signs on both sides of Commonwealth Avenue simply won’t cut it. As some have sarcastically lamented in the past, traffic lights and traffic signs to many motorists are merely “suggestions.”

Because of these glaring limitations, is it any wonder that the whole program was doomed to fail even before it started? I hope someone from the MMDA will take note of these so that senseless tragedies, like that which took the life of a journalist, can be avoided in the future.
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TAGS: Commonwealth Avenue, killer highway, MMDA

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