Metro Manila’s new traffic code should make a difference

Great innovations in governance take a lot of time to create: from idea to gestation and on to adoption and implementation. Which is just as well, because careful vetting and thorough study on the part of the proponents of an innovative idea, especially one that will affect the lives of millions of people, will clearly guide enforcers and the public on the activity being regulated.

Such is the fate of the Metro Manila Traffic Code of 2023 which took more than 25 years to draft, but has now received the approval of the Metro Manila Council which is composed of the National Capital Region's mayors. The code mandates the local government units in the NCR to implement a standard, unified ticketing system that rationalizes fines and penalties against errant motorists across Metro Manila.
The MMC, presided by San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, said the new system would most likely take effect within the first quarter of the year because the various LGUs will need to pass their respective ordinances adopting the Metro Manila Traffic Code 2023 on or before March 15 to fully implement the single ticketing system.

Once rolled out, apprehended motorists can pay for traffic-related violations wherever, regardless of the city where the violation was committed.

"The single ticketing system would help avoid confusion among our driving public, as well as the option to pay electronically for their violations. Driver's license will also not be confiscated during apprehension," said Don Artes, acting chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The standardized fines and penalties will now be endorsed to the Land Transportation Office and local councils for adoption. Based on MMDA Resolution 23-02, the single ticketing system "will harmonize the existing national and local laws on traffic enforcement to establish effective transport and traffic management in Metro Manila."

From its very inception, we support the approval and adoption of the new traffic code and its novel way of ticketing system, which saves time and money because digital payments instead of personal follow-ups to claim confiscated licenses are followed.

Other advantages are scrapping different procedures of apprehension, payment of fines, redemption of licenses and plates, uncoordinated implementation of traffic laws resulting in confusion and loss of money and productive hours. Most important, although not listed as one of the advantages by the MMC is the expected decrease in opportunities for corruption by the traffic enforcers, since digitalization will take over human discretion under the new traffic code.

The new traffic code enumerates a list of most common traffic violations, the penalties for which will be uniform in all NCR local government units. Some of the more common are disregarding traffic signs, illegal parking, number coding UVVRP, truck ban, reckless driving, driving without license, unregistered motor vehicle, tricycle ban, dress code for motorcycle, use of motorcycle helmets, seat belts, anti-drunk and drugged driving act, etc.

An added incentive for the LGUs which will implement the code is that the MMDA will provide the funds for the purchase of the hardware and tech requirements needed for seamless and simultaneous rollout of the LGU's integration with the LTO's Land Transportation Management System (LTMS).

We expect to see improved vehicular traffic in the metropolis along with a heightened discipline among motorists this first quarter of the year, with the full rollout of the new traffic code.