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By Dexter Cabalza 

Who’s to blame for the rash of accidents involving vehicles crashing into concrete barriers marking the Edsa busway? For the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), it’s undisciplined drivers.

Some motorists have criticized the MMDA for the placement of the barriers although according to the agency’s spokesperson Celine Pialago, the 64 accidents recorded since March were all “self-accidents” or the fault of drivers.

The six buses that crashed into the barriers were all speeding while the rest of the accidents which involved private vehicles had either drivers who were drunk or distracted, she added.

In the latest accident that occurred on Saturday, a “colorum” van crashed into the center island near the Edsa-Aurora Boulevard underpass. Three were injured with the driver admitting that he had fallen asleep.

“If only drivers plying Edsa were disciplined, there won’t be concrete barriers on Edsa,” Pialago said in a radio interview on Sunday. She added that the barriers come with complete features such as reflectors and early warning signs.

“We would understand that a few accidents would happen early on because motorists were adjusting to the new busway. But later on, we observed that drivers were enjoying making Edsa their fast lane,” she said.

The speed limit on the busy thoroughfare is 50 kilometers per hour for buses, and 60 kph for other vehicles.

Exclusive lane

The MMDA was also puzzled why bus drivers would exceed the speed limit when they were already on a lane that was for their exclusive use.

“Of the 550 authorized city buses, only 1 percent were involved in accidents. Who’s at fault: The concrete barriers or the drivers who said during the investigation that ‘I did not notice I was already [speeding]?’” Pialago said.

Some motorists claimed the busway was too narrow but this was also refuted by the MMDA.

“Buses would fit on the lane for buses, and would not hit the concrete barriers as long as they maintain their speed limit,” Pialago said, noting that the widest city buses had a width of over two meters, while the lane for buses measure between 3.3 to 3.5 meters (depending on which part of Edsa).

IN PHOTO COURTESY OF MMDA: Three people were injured after a van slammed into a concrete barrier marking the Edsa busway and into the center island near the Edsa-Aurora underpass in Quezon City on Aug. 1. The driver said he fell asleep.