Pinoy drivers will only follow traffic laws if...

I strongly agree with PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde that once police start following all traffic laws and regulations in the country, all the rest will follow knowing that police traffic enforcers will have the moral ascendancy to accost them in the streets.

The PNP chief in fact wants his men to be the model when it comes to observing traffic rules and regulations and obeying all laws and ordinances enacted to promote road safety and help ease out traffic in Metro Manila and other urban parts of the country.

“Simpleng bagay lang ’yan pero ’pag pinabayaan mo lumalaki,” he says. He was referring to policemen who are driving recklessly or without a license, going against the flow of traffic and violating the Helmet Law and the Traffic Code and other rules and regulations.

Add to that the presence of some members of the police who violate laws connected to licensing, number plates and stickers, equipment, part, accessories, devices and markings on motor vehicles; colorum motor vehicles, frauds and falsities and parking and other driver’s violations.

“Once the police show  discipline in the streets, everybody for sure will follow because he knows he will be apprehended, fined or even jailed,” Gen. Albayalde told me as he ordered PNP Highway Patrol Group director, Chief Superintendent Roberto B. Fajardo to go after all unauthorized users of sirens, blinkers and other gadgets as well as drivers of heavily-tinted cars and SUVs in the country.

The PNP chief likewise wants Fajardo to go after those driving under the influence and using mobile phones or  parking illegally on the streets or operating colorum public utility vans. Actually, traffic rules and regulations and other laws were created to restore road discipline, ease traffic and most importantly, to save lives and properties.

However, the PNP needs all the help it can get from the Land Transportation Office, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units and other agencies to help restore road discipline in our country.

At present, the country has so many laws which really need proper enforcement. They include the ban on driving under the influence of liquor or drugs, the law on distracted driving or using cell phones while driving, smoking or not wearing a seatbelt or a helmet, and the latest, the law which requires children to be safely strapped in a child safety seat or seat belt while at the back of a car or an SUV.

However, the LTO has miserably failed to enforce those laws despite the so-called IRRs, I would say. Let me cite the failed enforcement of the anti-drunk and drugged driving law in 2013. To date, I haven’t seen LTO or any traffic enforcer stopping a driver and requiring him to submit to a practical alcohol test or use a breath analyzer to determine if one has consumed alcohol which is above what the law says.

If the anti-drunken driving law is really being enforced to the hilt, then it would be very easy for our traffic enforcers to catch and jail dozens of offenders every day. They just need to position in front of hotels, bars, restaurants and other drinking establishments and accost drivers in the wee hours of the morning.

Other regular violations include driving without a license, with a delinquent, invalid, suspended, ineffectual or revoked license; allowing an unlicensed/improperly licensed person to drive; driving with a fake or counterfeit license; a student driver operating a motor vehicle without being accompanied by a licensed driver; and unregistered or improperly registered motor vehicle.

Then there are the laws in connection with number plates and stickers and  those related to equipment, part, accessories, devices and markings on motor vehicles; laws related to violations of dimensions, specifications, weight and load limits; colorum vehicles and breach of conditions of ‘For Hire’ vehicles; frauds and falsities; parking and other driver’s violations and other traffic violations.

One wanton violation is being committed by jeepney, truck, tricycle and bus drivers in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. There is a law which says that no person operating any motor vehicle shall allow more passengers or more freight or cargo in his vehicle other than its registered carrying capacity.

The law says that ‘no person shall hang on to, or ride on  the outside or the rear end of any vehicle.’ However, I would say ‘tell that to the Marines.’ Just look at the daily presence of around 5 to 6 ‘sabits’ in jeepneys in different parts of the metropolis. In the provinces, the number could go to as much as 30 persons who are hanging on  to their dear lives at the roof and other outside part of a jeep or a bus.

Add to that the presence of drivers using sirens, blinkers and other unauthorized gadgets, those obstructing the traffic while discharging or taking on passengers, those using heavy tints, those old vehicles known for emitting black smoke and other traffic violations like illegall turn, driving against traffic, illegal overtaking as well as motor vehicles with defective headlights or taillights or none at all. These are some of the more than 100 traffic laws in the country which are being taken advantage of by rogue enforcers.