If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’re familiar to the possibility of using technology to enforce traffic laws, or to stop crimes in progress. In 2011, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority tested out a No-Contact Apprehension policy, which aims to increase the apprehension of traffic violators that on-ground traffic personnel is unable to.
If you’re curious on what the No Contact Apprehension policy means, here are some answers to your burning questions.
What is it?
The No Contact Apprehension policy – or the No Physical Contact Apprehension program – was developed by the MMDA to penalize traffic violators even if they aren’t physically caught by an enforcer. It won’t be a replacement for physical apprehension, but an additional way for violators to be caught.
Under this program, “Swerving” is still not a violation, but changing lanes can still be considered the offense of reckless driving if done without proper precautions.
Under the policy, violators will be detected through the use of footage culled from the agency’s network of CCTV cameras.
How it works
In addition to footage from CCTV, violators may be penalized through footage from smartphones and digital cameras. The policy dictates that those caught with “moving violations” will be served notice regarding the violation. They will be given seven days from the receipt of the notice to settle the fines or contest the violation with the MMDA’s traffic adjudication division.
The footage will archive violators’ license plate numbers, and those who fail to settle the violation after a final notice will have their records handed over to the Land Transportation Office with a recommendation to prevent the car’s registration renewal until such a time that the violation is settled.
Naturally, the policy won’t be arbitrary. Enforcers will evaluate the footage at the end of each day and provide their recommendations upon making certain that only actual violators are penalized.
Why do this?
The larger aim of the policy is to ensure that a larger number of violations do not go undetected. It is also a way to prevent cases of corruption among enforcers, and to avoid cases where traffic is worsened by flagged down violators.
The policy is being implemented in full after its experimental run in 2011, when it was tested along Diosdado Macapagal Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue. With that in mind, most drivers should operate under the knowledge that they need to stay within the bounds of traffic laws, as the MMDA plans to increase its CCTV coverage in conjunction with the program.
The use of a CCTV network to search out and sanction violators appeared to be effective when it was implemented six years ago. With vast improvements made to the network infrastructure, it is the hope of the MMDA to improve upon the 1,000+ violators caught.
The policy is not meant to replace traffic personnel on the road, but to supplement it, catching violators who would otherwise go unnoticed.
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