When the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced back in January 2011 that the maximum speed along Commonwealth Avenue (QC) would be reduced to 60 kph, I tried to convince myself that this is a good policy. I was trying to argue against this initial reaction — slowing down everyone is the easiest alternative to the proper implementation of existing traffic laws.
60 kph would reduce the number of accidents along Commonwealth Avenue, justifiably dubbed as the Killer Highway. Driving at 60 kph would give more reaction time, either to avoid hitting someone (or something) or being hit by other vehicles. There will be less accidents.
I don’t see this policy being implemented in the wee hours of the morning. Retired Makati Judge Reynaldo Laigo and his wife were killed in Commonwealth Avenue when a bus rammed into their vehicle at 4:30 a.m.
There are footbridges in Commonwealth Avenue, yet so many pedestrians don’t use them and still cross with brazen disregard for their safety, as well as the safety of those driving through this road. With 18 lanes at the road’s widest, it’s like playing patintero with cars and buses. Insufficiently-lighted portions. Extra-wide road. Dark evenings. People crossing. Recipe for disaster. Hit someone, even if it’s not your fault, and you get slapped with a case.
Controlling the vehicles seems to be easier than controlling the pedestrians. Not enough traffic officers to man the entire stretch of Commonwealth Avenue. Besides, when I asked two MMDA officers why they are not apprehending jaywalkers, they answered that they fear for their safety. It’s easier to control drivers/vehicles than the pedestrians. It’s easier to slow down everyone, by imposing the 60 kph limit, than implementing anti-jaywalking regulations.
Or maybe we should ask why people are not obeying traffic laws, and not unfairly harp why traffic officers are not implementing them. They can only do so much. Then again, you obey traffic regulations in Subic because you know these regulations are zealously enforced. Classic chicken-or-egg dilemma.