Step by step, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is singling out the hazards of Metro Manila’s streets. Following their forwarding of a list of drivers with multiple violations to the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the MMDA are now taking steps to make sure these errant drivers no longer see to a steering wheel.
During a press conference at the MMDA office held in Makati yesterday, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said that motorists with an alarming number of traffic violations ought to be banned from driving in the interest of public safety.
“We want the riding public to be out of danger and prohibiting habitual traffic offenders is one step to avoid road accidents,” Garcia said. In order to completely be stringent with enforcing the law however, the MMDA still requires a complete set of apprehension guidelines from the LTO.
“Because we are just an enforcement agency, we have to be guided by the LTO on the apprehension of these motorists but we encourage PUV operators to exercise their authority and bar their errant drivers from holding the steering wheel.”
Despite this, the MMDA implores upon the bus operators to be diligent enough to weed out their own erring drivers from their ranks. Today the MMDA and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is set to meet with several bus company franchisees to discuss the drivers in question.
Just recently, the MMDA was able to check a bus that had 13 violations on its record. Its most common traffic infractions include unloading / loading of passengers in prohibited areas, anddisregaring traffic signs. They managed to check its record after the driver piloting the bus side swiped a motorcycle, injuring the rider in the process.
To further stress the consequences of unsafe driving habits, Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group Traffic Enforcement Unit Chief Col. Emmanuel Tabuena said that aside from suspension and revocation of licenses, drivers who were involved in road accidents can possibly also face criminal charges like reckless driving, among others.
Culling drivers with multiple violations raises concerns with decreasing the efficiency of the mass transport system, though it seems that is not the case according to Garcia and LTFRB Technical Division chief Joel Bolano. “If there are 3,500 bus units in Metro Manila, there are more than 7,000 PUB drivers. If there are only 2,000 delinquent bus drivers, there will still be 5,000 left," Bolano said.
So, will the MMDA actually be successful with enforcing this? Or will the bus companies find more excuses to keep their hazardous drivers under employ?