The No Contact Apprehension Policy is an idea whose time has come.
The use of Closed Circuit TV to identify and apprehend traffic violators 24 hours a day is the most modern, efficient way to instill discipline and make our roads safer for everyone.
The Metro Manila Development Authority was the first to implement such programs, covering major thoroughfares, especially along EDSA. The MMDA must be doing it right and efficiently that we could rarely hear complaints from motorists.
The agency was right when it did not totally eliminate the presence of enforcers in areas where CCTV cameras were installed. Both the CCTV and the enforcers were there to complement each other in manning the intersections.
The payment system was smooth and the fines are reasonable and just within the range of penalties imposed by the Land Transportation Office, the national government’s authority in land transport policies.
The most common violations on the road are disobeying traffic rules like beating the red light, driving on prohibited roads like entering a one-way street, illegal turns, or overtaking. Under LTO, these violators are each fined P1,000.
Disobedience to traffic control signals and signs; obstruction of pedestrian lanes; driving on the yellow box, over speeding; non-wearing of helmet for motorcycle riders; and disregard for lane markings cost P2,000 in fines.
Then Manila City came up with its own sets of penalties which are much higher.
Interest on unpaid penalties is also imposed, unlike the MMDA which only reports to the LTO “with a request that its registration not be renewed until the penalties or fines are fully settled.”
A passenger-app rider who was caught by NCAP several times had his penalties ballooned to P70,000. One taxi driver was caught one night with two violations called “stepping on the line” and had to shell out P7,000.
So much to pay for seemingly negligible violations that may have not even caused traffic to stall or harm other road users. Is NCAP anti-poor? Are the intersections equipped enough to fit NCAP implementation?
But then again, wrong is wrong.
It is just hoped that NCAP is not becoming a money-making venture for an LGU, and its partner operator, instead of a tool to instill discipline on the road.
After Manila, other cities have followed suit like Quezon City and Valenzuela, and more are on the chase.
This early, some transport groups are calling on the LGUs imposing NCAP to address confusing rules. Riders are requesting that NCAP be implemented only on intersections with traffic lights that have a timer to guide the motorists.
Several transport groups also claim, in a joint statement, that “the fines (are) oppressive and disproportionate to violations committed under (the) circumstances.”
Meanwhile, hard-headed public utility vehicle drivers—especially those whose jeepneys have no record on LTO (colorum), continue—to load and unload on prohibited zones, e-trike drivers make wrong turns and beat red lights, and cause massive clogging on intersections and go scot-free. LGUs must also invest in infrastructure to make this work efficiently. And be reasonable to poor motorists.