By Mariejo S. Ramos
Road crashes in Metro Manila continued despite travel restrictions during the lockdown, data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) show.
From March to August, the MMDA recorded 15,220 road crash incidents. Of the total, 88 were fatal and 3,514 were nonfatal, and 11,618 caused damage to property.
In March, when Metro Manila was placed under enhanced community quarantine, there were 5,502 road crashes, with 19 deaths.
Although the numbers significantly declined in April with 925 cases and 11 deaths, they spiked again in May with 2,137 cases and 19 deaths, and almost doubled in June to 3,848 cases and 30 deaths.
Metro Manila was placed under general community quarantine in June, when the government started to gradually ease restrictions on travel and public transportation.
A significant reduction in road crashes was observed on Edsa during the quarantine.
From June 1 to Aug. 31, 618 road crash incidents with five deaths were recorded on Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare.
In 2019, the MMDA recorded 4,652 road crashes with eight deaths on Edsa from June 1 to Sept. 6.
On July 1, the Department of Transportation and the MMDA launched the Edsa Busway rapid transit system to provide “safer and faster” lanes for buses along Edsa during the quarantine.
On Tuesday this week, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia met with police and transport officials to discuss measures to ensure road safety. “We found out that many accidents were due to drunk driving, texting while driving and overspeeding,” said Garcia.
Republic Act No. 10586 makes it unlawful to “drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or other similar substances.”
“These are accidents that could have been prevented, and we should tell the public that we’re serious about this,” Garcia said, adding that authorities would no longer tolerate blatant violations of traffic rules.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic crashes kill around 1.35 million people and injure 20 million to 50 million more around the world each year.
WHO also notes that more than half of all road traffic deaths and injuries involve “vulnerable road users”—pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and their passengers.