MMDA lifts no-contact policy along Commonwealth

Posted at 05/16/2011 8:43 PM | Updated as of 05/17/2011 10:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has intensified its crackdown on speeding vehicles on Commonwealth Avenue -- which has been dubbed as a "killer highway"-- following the death of journalist and professor Chit Estella-Simbulan in a vehicular accident.

As of  2 p.m. on Monday, 71 motorists had been apprehended for driving their vehicles beyond the 60-kilometer-per-hour (kph) speed limit.

Using laser speed guns, MMDA personnel screen vehicles travelling Commonwealth Ave. and detect those that are speeding.

The MMDA has lifted its no-contact policy following Simbulan's accident.

This means traffic enforcers may now order speed limit violators to stop and personally issue traffic tickets to them, instead of just recording their information from CCTV cameras and then sending them notices.

Violators face a fine of P1,200.

One of those apprehended on  Monday morning was a jeepney running at 69 kph.

"Parang mabagal lang naman ang takbo ko," the driver said as MMDA traffic enforcers issued him a ticket.

Most of the violators were public vehicles like buses and jeepneys.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the number of vehicular accidents in Commonwealth has decreased since speed guns were used to monitor vehicles in January this year.

"It's not really a killer highway anymore," he told ABS-CBN News.

Records from the MMDA show that there were 405 vehicular accidents on Commonweath from January to April 2011 -- lower than the 872 cases in the same period last year.

Still, Commonwealth ranks second to EDSA with the highest number of vehicular accidents in Metro Manila last year at 2,859.

Speeding remains the biggest problem in Commonwealth, Tolentino said, especially since it's the widest thoroughfare in the country with a total of 18 lanes.

"Many are tempted to drive their vehicles fast," he said, adding that many vehicles violate the speed limit especially at night.

This is why beginning Monday, monitoring operations using a speed gun will continue even at night and into the dawn.

Tolentino said the agency has added 30 personnel to the existing 60 to monitor Commonwealth Avenue in shifts.