We've seen some changes in the traffic police in the past few months since P-Noy's inauguration. In its efforts to show more transparency and keep up with the times, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority updated its website and even created a Twitter account with daily, often hourly updates (follow them on Twitter and ask your burning questions!).
Here's one of the most useful tidbits we've learned from them: a list of 10 things every driver should know. If you ever needed to brush up on those traffic rules (not just for you, but for the traffic enforcers!), now's your chance to do so. Click on a rule to learn about it or simply read on:
- Only one officer at a time
- Swerving is allowed
- Your driver's license can't be confiscated unless you're caught in the following situations
- Private vehicles can't use the yellow lane
- You can check your enforcer's jurisdiction
- Enforcers must wear their full uniform
- You get a separate violation receipt for the towing fee
- Enforcers must always be polite
- Enforcers can't ask you to leave your vehicle
- You can use your temporary/foreign driver's license
ONLY ONE OFFICER AT A TIME
MMDA Enforcers are not allowed to group together while apprehending a motorist. They are not even allowed to stand together in groups of two (2) or more, except in actual times of special operations (e.g. apprehending groups of smoke-belching/colorum buses).
SWERVING IS ALLOWED
Swerving is not a traffic violation. It is defined as a movement wherein vehicles shift from a lane to another. However, it can be constitute the offense of reckless driving if it is done without precautions (e.g. swerving in an abrupt and careless manner, swerving without the use of signals).
YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE CAN'T BE CONFISCATED UNLESS YOU'RE CAUGHT IN THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS
A driver's license cannot be confiscated by a Traffic Enforcer during traffic apprehensions except on the following situations:
- The driver was involved in a traffic accident
- The driver has accumulated three (3) or more unsettled violations
- The driver has been apprehended for the following violations
If the driver refuses to surrender his driver's license, his plate may be detached pursuant to Section 74 & 75, MC 89-105.
PRIVATE VEHICLES CAN'T USE THE YELLOW LANE
Private Vehicles are not allowed to use the yellow lane except when they are about to turn, provided that they start shifting lanes upon seeing the transition lane (broken white lines painted diagonally), that you can see around 50 meters away from an intersection. However, selective apprehension of private vehicles using the yellow lane is highly prohibited.
The yellow lanes (1st and 2nd lanes in EDSA) are only for City Buses. City Buses are not allowed to go beyond the yellow lanes. If they do so, they will be apprehended for violating the yellow lane policy.
Provincial buses are also not allowed to use the yellow lane. Instead, they are encouraged to use the third lane.
(Photo by Halfd via wikimedia.org)
YOU CAN CHECK YOUR ENFORCER'S JURISDICTION
Each Traffic Enforcer has his/her own written mission order issued by the MMDA Central Admin. Apprehended drivers are free to ask for the apprehending officer's mission order, which includes his area of responsibility, time of duty, official function. It also indicates whether or not the enforcer is authorized to issue tickets.
ENFORCERS MUST WEAR THEIR FULL UNIFORM
Traffic Enforcers should issue TVR in complete uniform, with visible nameplates. Traffic Enforcers are instructed to accomplish the TVR (Traffic Violation Receipt) without any delay or argument on the road, so as to avoid traffic congestion.
YOU GET A SEPARATE VIOLATION RECEIPT FOR THE TOWING FEE
The Apprehending Enforcer is allowed to issue another TVR for Towing Fee. If the owner of the impounded vehicle fails to release his vehicle after payment of fine in the stipulated date, the impounding officer shall issue a separate TVR indicating no. of days it has remained at the impounding area.
ENFORCERS MUST ALWAYS BE POLITE
Before apprehending, the Traffic Enforcer should flag down the vehicle and lead it to the roadside where it will not obstruct the flow of traffic. Traffic Enforcers should courteously inform the driver of his violation.
ENFORCERS CAN'T ASK YOU TO LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE
Traffic Enforcers are not allowed to ask drivers to alight from their vehicles while the apprehension is taking place. Most importantly, Traffic Enforcers are not allowed to ask or receive bribe money.
YOU CAN USE YOUR TEMPORARY/FOREIGN DRIVER'S LICENSE
During traffic apprehensions, the following can be considered as a valid driver's license:
- ID Plastic Card
- DLR / Temporary Driver's License
- TOP (Temporary Operator's Permit)
- International Driver's License
- Foreign License
The Traffic Enforcer should exercise extra diligence in verifying the veracity of the data or documents presented.
If you encounter any Traffic Enforcer violating any of these, get the name of the Traffic Enforcer indicated on his/her name plate, and submit a letter of complaint addressed to the Traffic Adjudication Board (TAB), MMDA Bldg. EDSA cor. Orense St. Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City, within 5 days after the apprehension.
In case you are involved in an argument with a Traffic Enforcer, call the MMDA Hotline 136, or the Metrobase at 0917-561-8709. Ask the Metrobase to send inspectors to go to the place where the argument is taking place for proper investigation.
You may also e-mail complaints against erring Traffic Enforcers to the MMDA thru firstname.lastname@example.org. Include full details of the incident (attach photos or videos if possible), so that they will be able to act promptly on the matter.
(Photo by Caleb Williams via wikimedia.org)