Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
Bacolod City Traffic Management Unit head Chief Insp. Luisito Acebuche has revealed that of the 4,970 traffic violations recorded from January to June this year, 3,268 were committed by drivers of public utility jeepneys. These violations mostly involved obstruction or parking of jeepneys in prohibited areas, especially near intersections while loading and unloading passengers. Acebuche added that many of the violators were recidivists, committing the same violation repeatedly after getting their drivers license back upon paying the fine.
With this in mind, the TMU and the Bacolod Traffic Authority Office will be imposing a new scheme wherein a confiscated license will not be returned to the driver unless he or she attends a seminar being held at the old City Hall. If this does not curb recidivism among traffic violators then it might be high time for the City Council to reevaluate the penalties for traffic violations.
Recidivists prosper because the penalty for their offense does not discourage them from doing it again. In the case of the jeepney drivers who obstruct our roads with impunity, they probably figure that paying the fine repeatedly is easier than obeying simple traffic rules. If the penalty or fine does not inspire fear among violators, then it is essentially useless and that would be one major factor why the traffic situation in this city never seems to improve even if it turns out that traffic enforcers do their job enough to apprehend 4,970 traffic violations in 6 months.
The penalty for traffic violations has to be significant enough to stop violators from doing it again. If the added inconvenience of requiring the violator to make time to attend a seminar does not address the problem of recidivists, then the fine has to be made large enough so that the erring drivers think twice about being caught again as well as to discourage petty bribes. Aside from increasing the fines, a limit should also be placed on the number of times a violation may be repeated before the driver’s license is revoked.
We have seen firsthand that the current system obviously does not work. Drivers have no respect for a toothless law and the traffic enforcers, as well as the people of Bacolod City in general, are paying the price. Adjusting the fines and penalties to make them more timely and effective won’t take much effort but the results will benefit the entire city. When will the people who have the power to do something about it get moving?*