Freeman Cebu Business


ARE WE THERE YET - Back Seat Driver - The Freeman

The main city’s traffic division has just appointed a new director.  What I know of is that the new director was the private sector consultant before he assumed office.  I also know that this new director will be faced with the Herculean task to untangle the mess left by his predecessor.  Through no fault of his own, I am not holding my breath on the possibility of him fully achieving the goals he has set to achieve during his tenure.  And I will tell you why.

First, he is surrounded by witless enforcers who have the cojones of a jellyfish.  What makes me say that?  I can answer that with three questions.  Number 1. Despite the fact that you actually committed a traffic violation, when was the last time you lost an argument to one of these traffic enforcers?  They are always at a loss when you ask them to cite the specific violation you committed.  Number 2. Have you ever seen a traffic enforcer round up all those scooters and mopeds that sit on the pedestrian lane while waiting for the light to turn green?  This is a blatant violation of traffic laws yet nothing is being done about it.  Number 3. Have you ever seen a traffic enforcer reprimand a fellow law enforcer when they commit a violation?  As I pointed out last week, government and private vehicles freely park along the No Stopping Anytime zone beside the City Hall.  Has anything been done about it?  Nada.

Second, he is working with government offices that couldn’t care less about the traffic situation as long as their coffers and, allegedly, their pockets are full.  Take for instance the licensing office.  As long as they keep issuing licenses to every unqualified driver, there will be no such order in the streets.  Why?  Because ever other driver’s license applicant has no idea about driver conduct and road courtesy.  They don’t drill that into your heads when you’re attending their so-called licensing seminar.  It’s more of a suggestion that anything else.  It’s like telling hormone-driven teenagers not to have unprotected sex.  It doesn’t really hit home until something happens.

Third, you can’t teach old dogs new tricks without cracking the whip.  Most, if not all, persons holding a valid driver’s license are used to weaving in and out of lanes, even using the shoulder on occasions, to get to their point of destination.  There are even those who argue that crossing multiple lanes at a time does not qualify as reckless driving.  These are conventions that many have gotten used to because of the laxity with which traffic rules are being disseminated and enforced.  You enforce discipline; raise the fine for offenders; and, the next thing you know, they claim their right to be reckless is being trampled.

I am not saying it would be impossible for this new traffic director to achieve his goals.  I have seen his plans and the methods he intends to employ to help educate current and upcoming drivers.  Everything looks good on paper.  But as long as the first and second points cannot be revamped, I foresee a future that will only improve slightly.

Here’s my idea for a quick fix, Mr. New Director:  (1) Fire all your traffic enforcers. (2) Hire new ones with the cojones to enforce the law.  (3) Provide all your enforcers with electronic tablets with quick access to all traffic laws and regulations.  I’m pretty sure these e-tablets would be put to better use compared to the ones you supplied the city legislators with.

I hope things will go better with you at the helm, else it’s going to be same “S,” different director.

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