Traffic > Decree

You need to be aware of this latest traffic-violation racket

It has something to do with your license’s restriction code

Have you ever encountered a traffic officer who questioned your license’s restriction? PHOTO FROM MMDA

Yesterday, a reader (who is requesting that his name be withheld) sent us the following message:

So, my sister was driving her automatic-transmission car when she was flagged down by an MMDA enforcer for her medium-dark tint. What’s funny is that when she showed him her license, the officer insisted that she was violating her license’s restriction as she had Restriction 2 (vehicles up to 4,500kg in gross weight weight). The enforcer was insisting that since she was driving an automatic car, her license should have Restriction 4 (automatic clutch up to 4,500kg in gross vehicle weight). My sister stood her ground, so the enforcer told her that he was letting her off the hook this time. Isn’t driving an automatic-transmission car included in Restriction 2 as it doesn’t mention any specifics on transmissions? Is there a new law pertaining to this, or is this one of the many scams these traffic officers pull off?

For the record, here are all the possible restrictions on a driver’s license:

  1. Motorcycles and motorized tricycles
  2. Vehicles up to 4,500kg (GVW)
  3. Vehicles above 4,500kg (GVW)
  4. Automatic clutch up to 4,500kg (GVW)
  5. Automatic clutch above 4,500kg (GVW)
  6. Articulated vehicles 1,600kg and below (GVW)
  7. Articulated vehicles 1,601kg up to 4,500kg (GVW)
  8. Articulated vehicles 4,501kg and above (GVW)

Now, like our reader’s sister (and like most of you, I presume), I have Restriction 2 on my driver’s license. Does it indeed mean I can’t drive automatic-transmission vehicles as there seems to be a dedicated restriction for clutchless vehicles (Restriction 4)?

“Restriction 2 is limited to vehicles up to 4,500kg in gross vehicle weight, and there being no further limitations, it permits one to drive both automatic and manual vehicles up to that weight,” motoring enthusiast and lawyer Robby Consunji tells me. “From what I understand, the automatic-clutch restriction is intended for people with disabilities, or those who cannot actively shift a manual transmission.”

Atty. Consunji then sends me an image of his own driver’s license from 1981, and points my attention to how Restriction 4 was worded back then. It specifically said: “Automatic clutch only.” Which means Restriction 2 covers both manual and automatic transmissions, and Restriction 4 limits vehicle operation to automatic transmission only.

This license was issued nearly 40 years ago. IMAGE FROM ROBBY CONSUNJI

Anyway, not only was the above-mentioned Metropolitan Manila Development Authority traffic officer wrong in how he interpreted the license restrictions, it turns out he also didn’t have any business checking on those. That’s because, also yesterday, the MMDA tweeted the following message to the public:

So there. Next time an MMDA officer makes a fuss about the restriction on your driver’s license, just tell him he has no right whatsoever to do so and that you will report him to the proper authorities if he insists. Be informed. Knowledge keeps corrupt people at bay.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.