National rule on “non-contact apprehensions”

THE biggest debate on road use today is the implementation of the No Contact Apprehension Policy (NCAP) enforced by local government units, especially in Metro Manila.

One argument says that this policy is not necessary because the infrastructure is incomplete; another says the filmed violations do not paint a clear picture, while another argues that there are too many different traffic rules in Metro Manila based on different cities for this to be truly effective.

In the case of an incomplete infrastructure, it does not have to be completely complete because there are still ground traffic controllers. These traffic cops should be able to catch those who are not filmed.

For the second argument of the photo which does not paint a clear picture, what can be said about going through a red light, parking in a prohibited zone, entering a one-way street or driving on a bike path only? We’re just used to arguing with law enforcement and most of the time getting away with it.

But the one-size-fits-all rule on NCAP is something I can agree with, simply because local government officials have – time and time again – abused the power to enact local ordinances contrary to national rules.

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How difficult it would be to have different NCAP rules throughout Metro Manila where bike lanes are not enforced uniformly, or the number coding system differs from city to city.

As a general rule, traffic laws are uniform all over the world, except for small differences like left or right-hand traffic. But lane markings, stop and go signs, speed limits and the like are basically the same.

However, in our country, some cities enforce traffic rules that are ironically different from established rules, such as Makati confiscating driver’s licenses when national law says they cannot.

For NCAP to be a viable deterrent to habitual traffic violators, it must be enacted with a comprehensive and uniform set of laws and guidelines. The reason is that all cities and municipalities in the country use only one set and when we drive across the country, we do not have to memorize dozens of rules of each city that we have to cross.

But what about cities that are not yet advanced enough to have NCAP? Are we saying that they will never improve or progress enough to reach that point? The purpose of modern laws is to allow later communities to catch up.

Congress should stop bickering over whether or not NCAP is a good idea. It’s a very nice idea, which accompanies the modernization of motor vehicles (from gasoline to electric, from manual to automated).

There will come a time when cars will be self-driving. Are we waiting for that day to make laws about it, just as we struggle to make laws accepting electric cars in our society now?

Wouldn’t it be better to have these laws and not need them than to need them and not have them?

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