Welcome to Inquirer Mobility

2020 marks the initial year of the COVID-19 pandemic.  It also marks the first time in many years that the streets of Metro Manila were safer. 

            Safer because less people were on the road, what with the longest lockdown in the world limiting mobility in the metropolis.  In 2020, the Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS) of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority recorded a grand total of 65,032 road crashes compared to pre-pandemic 2019, when the grand total was 121,771.

            Of these 65,032 road crashes, 50,230 resulted in damage to property, 337 were fatal, and 14,465 caused non-fatal injury.

            The average number of road mishaps per day that damaged property was 137.61, that was fatal was 0.92 and that caused non-fatal injury was 39.63.

CLASSIFICATION BY AGE. Classified by age, people in the 18 to 24 age bracket were involved in 5,733 road crashes (134 fatal and 5,599 non-fatal), followed by persons from 35 to 51 years old figuring in 3,343 road crashes (89 fatal and 3,254 non-fatal.)  Older persons (52 to 65 years old) got into 957 road crashes (29 fatal, 928 non-fatal.)

            Do the above statistics mean that young people 18 to 24 in general are unsafe drivers, or is it because there are more young people on the road than the oldies?  Or maybe it’s because older people, having had more years of experience in driving, are safer drivers?

TOP 3 VEHICLE TYPES. Meanwhile, among the vehicle types involved in road crashes last year, cars posted the highest number: 58,778 representing 47.01 percent of the grand total.  Eighty-nine road crashes involving cars were fatal, 6,318 caused non-fatal injury, and 52,371 damaged property.

            Exactly 25,208 motorcycles figured in road accidents in Metro Manila last year, or 20.16 percent of the grand total.  Of these 25,208 motorcycles, 253 were in fatal road crashes, 12,925 were in non-fatal, and 12,030 damaged property.

            Surprisingly enough, the third ranking vehicle type involved in road mishaps was the van, not the truck.  MMARAS reports that 13,964 vans were involved in road crashes, representing 11.17% of the grand total.  Thirty-six vans got into fatal road accidents, 1,582 in non-fatal and 12,346 damaged property.

            The top three  — cars, motorcycles and vans–were followed in number of road crashes by trucks (10,500 or 8.43 percent of the grand total) and buses (3,233 or 2.58 percent.)

THE MEANEST STREETS. All of the above brings up the most interesting question: which three streets in Metro Manila are the most accident-prone?

            According to MMARAS, among the 16 major roads in the megapolis, EDSA is the deadliest.  In 2020, a total of 7,319 road mishaps occurred on EDSA, with 6,067 damaging property, 1,319 causing non-fatal injury, and 26 fatal.

            The top three accident-prone areas along EDSA were Timog Ave.-Kamias Road-Q Mart area (111), Ortigas Ave. Guadix Drive to Rochester St. (81) and Aurora Blvd.-P. Tuazon Blvd. (75.)

            Next to EDSA, Commonwealth Ave. is the meanest, having been the venue of 3,262 road crashes last year with 2,453 damaging property, 13 fatal, and 796 non-fatal.

            Along Commonwealth Ave., the most accident-prone streets are the IBP Road Sandigan (COA)-BF Road Meralco with 103 mishaps, Tandang Sora Ave.-Luzon Ave. area with 96 incidents, and Zuruarregui St.-Feria Rd. Diliman Property with 92.

            The third most dangerous street is C-5 Road with a total of 5,208 road crashes.  Of these 5,208, 4,230 damaged property, 18 were fatal, and 960 non-fatal.

            Along C-5, the riskiest are McKinley Hill (SM Aura and Market-Market) where 88 road crashes occurred in 2020, Pinagsama-Diego Silang BCDA area where 83 road accidents took place, and  the C.P. Garcia-Magsaysay Ave. Pansol area where 71 road mishaps happened.

            The other accident-prone streets listed by MMARAS are Quezon Ave., Roxas Blvd., Marcos Highway, and Radial Road 10.

24/7 EMERGENCY ROADSIDE SERVICE. All these data on mean streets and road crashes validate the importance of reliable, efficient 24/7 Emergency Roadside Service (ERS) which includes towing.

            The Automobile Association Philippines (AAP) began providing towing service in early 1987, or 34 years ago, when it was known as the Philippine Motor Association.  Now, AAP offers free 24/7 ERS in Metro Manila to its members, and to non-members for a fee on five Luzon expressways (NLEX, SLEX, Star Tollway, Skyway, and up to Nov. 30, 2021 on SCTEx.)  At these expressways, AAP is the only accredited ERS provider.

            Francisco “Bebot” F. Reyes, Jr. the Operations Manager who has been supervising AAP’s ERS at various locations for the past 15 years, says that AAP currently maintains 26 tow trucks and 14 flatbed trucks.  The trucks are distributed and stationed at four locations: Central ERS (Metro Manila), North ERS, and South ERS.

            Why does AAP have flatbed trucks aside from tow trucks?  Reyes explains that flatbeds are used to carry and transport automobiles with automatic transmissions, sports cars, big bikes, and vehicles with meticulous owners.

            Tow trucks stationed at the expressways have two crew members for Class 1 and Class 2 vehicles, three crew members for Class 3 vehicles, and one crew member aside from the driver at Central ERS, which is actually AAP’s garage and Autocare shop on Aurora Blvd. in Quezon City.

            New recruits undergo at least six months of training before becoming a Lead Crew member.

Before the pandemic lockdowns banned in-person sessions, AAP conducted a refresher training course every year for the ERS drivers and crew members.

            AAP has made access to its 24/7 ERS easier for members and non-members alike through AAP GO, the AAP mobile app now available for free download on both Google Play and App Store. Aside from using AAP GO’s “book-a-tow” feature in an emergency, non-members can use the digital platform to explore the benefits of AAP membership, and even apply for membership.

MAIN photo taken by Raymart Tamesis shows a bus and an ambulance figuring in an accident along the Edsa-Shaw Boulevard tunnel’s southbound lane last June 4

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