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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Echaves: Good habits

NO, I’ll just stay home. I don’t like the traffic ,” says my eight-year-grandson.

On the road, he’s counting the traffic violators, always asking “Why are they disobeying? They are making counterflow. Why are they not arrested?”

Today, Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s Executive Order 34 targets such vehicles.

If my grandson sees one apprehension, that will make his day. And I shall have shown another proof that committing violations does not pay.

Of course, there are dissenting opinions, particularly from transport operators, about impounding the vehicles. It’s contrary to the national traffic law, they say.

Indeed, where’s the culpability of the vehicle, unless it has a mind of its own, and runs while the driver is under duress? The thought alone is ridiculous.

Also, to impound the vehicle is to punish those others it serves. If a family has others who can drive, even a 16-year-old with a driver’s license, then the vehicle can still bring young ones to school.

Impounding the vehicle is, for the transport operators, tantamount to crippling their business. They prefer punishing only the driver because they can always accommodate other drivers hovering around to do “extra.” So, it’s “tuloy ang ligaya” for these operators.

Motorists and passengers will always welcome the apprehension of counterflowing vehicles. And while we’re at it, how about apprehending, too, all those drivers who clog the junction boxes, despite the clear crisscrossing lines and the signs to stay away from these boxes?

Where I live, driving out of our village means near-hitting the periphery of the junction box separating motorists from the Ayala extension road near Panagdait area and Hernan Cortes Street.

Immediately we’d know if the traffic officer was around. Every vehicle patiently waits for its turn; otherwise, it’s the usual bedlam.

Worse, we’d see the assigned traffic officer doing the “wendy” (when the cat is away, the mouse will play). He’s either staying in the shade of a nearby sari-sari store. Or in the security guard house, sitting low enough to just have his eyes sit on the window sill.

Other times, though, the enforcers are bravely manning the intersection even at high noon, their faces and arms darkened by the sun. I wonder why they continue to wear these dark arm sleeves, when they only absorb and trap the heat, instead of repel it.

Someone should tell them to wear light-colored arm sleeves instead.

Knowing our history as a nation about enforcements beginning with a bang and then ending with a whimper, people will surely be curious about one thing: How long will this enforcement of EO 34 run?

Despite the Helmet Law, motorcyclists are still freely plying our main thoroughfares without helmet, or with the wrong kind of helmet.

Despite the Children’s Safety on Motorcycles Act, motorcyclists still allow young ones to ride even if their feet cannot touch the foot peg.

Despite the LTFRB’s warning, taxi drivers still refuse their passengers even when they have already boarded.

It’s been said it takes 28 days to form a habit. Let’s hope EO 34 enforcement lasts 28 days, and forms good driving habits in all.
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