10 October 2013

MANILA CITY to use cameras to catch traffic violators.

Words & Photo by Leslie Sy

manila city traffic cam 01The City of Manila will soon be installing cameras at major road intersections as part of it's non-contact apprehension approach in the updated Traffic Management Code. As a result, there would be less traffic enforcers on the streets and violators of traffic rules will be monitored and recorded on video cameras. This is inline with Mayor Joseph Estrada's previous announcement to rid his city of “kotong” (extortionist) cops and traffic enforcers

Counselor Letlet Zarcal said the Manila City government is in discussion with the Land Transportation Office for access to their vehicle registration database. Among the items discussed are the terms of agreement for enforcement and the penalties. Initially, five major intersections will be installed with cameras which are: Quirino Avenue-Osmeña Highway, España Boulevard-A. Lacson Avenue, Dimasalang-A. Lacson Avenue, Pedro Gil-Taft Avenue, and Tayuman Street-Rizal Avenue.

The cameras will be linked to the traffic light system. When the traffic light turns red, the motion-sensor camera will scan the yellow box for violators. It will capture a photo of the plate number of the erring vehicle. The traffic violation ticket will be issued by the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) to the registered owner through mail, along with the photo of the incident. Violators will have to pay the fine in order to renew their driver’s license or vehicle registration. The non-contact apprehension policy will be implemented through a private-public partnership program, where the selected company will provide the monitoring cameras and get 30 percent from the penalty collection.

In cases where the vehicles has been sold to a buyer, Zarcal said the seller is responsible to transfer of registration to the buyer.

Personally, I would applaud the traffic camera system if it can keep order and discipline to ALL road users in Manila. These should include public jeepneys, kalesas, tricycles, pedicabs and the illegal “kuliligs”. Unfortunately, this system would be able to do very little against these without an actual traffic enforcer being present on the road.

I would also like to mention that in some instances in other countries like the USA and UK, this type of traffic camera system has ended up being used more as a revenue generator for the city than as a tool to enforce traffic rules. It does nothing to curb the number of traffic violations when the number of issued tickets were compared before and after such traffic cams were installed.