by Khate Sabado

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the letters “CIA”? With all the movies that we’ve watched and our familiarity with American culture, many of us have come to associate those three letters with the Central Intelligence Agency. However, at NLEX, the acronym belongs to the Crash and Investigation Analysis team.

NLEX’s CIA team is composed of seasoned members from different departments. There are members from the Asset Management Department (AMD), Traffic Operations Department (TrOD), Southbend Express Services Inc. (SESI), and Corporate Communications for Social Media (CSM). Resource process owners including Risk Management and Insurance (RMID) and Traffic Systems Engineering (TSE) are likewise represented. Compliance and Business Excellence (CaBEx) — which is composed of Business Process Excellence (BPE) and Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH) — is also part of it.

The CIA team convenes whenever there are fatalities, serious injuries, or major damage to NLEX Corporation property. The members are organized as follows:

With the guidance of NLEX President, Jose Luigi L. Bautista, CIA team members were tasked to focus on conducting second-level investigation supplemented by a comprehensive analysis of road crashes.  The team members hold regular meetings via the MS Teams to discuss the root causes of incidents.  Together with the different process owners, they establish immediately actionable corrective action plans to reduce roads crashes and work towards safer expressways for its road users.  Hence, from time to time, they coordinate with various resource persons and departments to collect timely and accurate information and records that facilitate the in-depth study of the road incidents.

They evaluate each scenario based on five (5) pillars:

  • Road Safety Management.  This pertains to the enforcement of traffic laws and regulations as set by Land Transportation Office (LTO), Department of Transportation (DOTr), as well as policies set by NLEX’s Traffic Operations Department and implemented by its patrol officers. 
  • Road Condition. This is directly associated to the road standards and design, markings, signages installed, road safety features like rumble strips, humps, and barriers. It also addresses the presence of road obstructions or debris.
  • Vehicle Condition.  This correlates to the vehicle’s road worthiness, model, age, design and condition, modifications, and attachments (if any).
  • Road User.  This discusses the motorist’s driving qualification, capability, fitness, and competency based on his license and experience. This also tackles his or her mental state and health condition prior to the incident that may later influence his road behavior. They would also want to know if the road user utilized any form of safety device like a helmet or seatbelt.
  • Post-Crash Response.  This evaluates the timely response of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Accident Investigators, Incident Response Team (IRT), towing services, post-trauma care, law, and legal enforcements.

The creation of team has become imperative as the company is working towards achieving the ISO:39001 Certification for Road Traffic Safety Management System. 

Here are two fast facts that the CIA reveals through their data:

Fast Fact #1:

Do you know what the most frequent and least frequent types of road crashes happened from 2018 to 2020 at NLEX?

Answer:  The most frequent type of road crash is the rear-end collision, registering an all-time high of 2,385 incidents in 2019.  This type of collision happens when the front portion of the Vehicle 2 bumps the rear portion of Vehicle 1. Insufficient braking distance or miscalculation is the common cause for this incident. 

On the other hand, the least-frequent type of road crash is head-on collision, with only 4 incidents recorded in 2018.  This incident happens when two vehicles coming from opposite direction collide with each other.  The presence of concrete median barriers, metal guardrails, and bougainvillea plants have helped prevent this event from occurring.

Types of Collisions in Year 2018 to 2020

Fast Fact #2:

During what period of the year do we have high incidence of road crashes?

Answer:  Summer. It is during the months of April and May that we usually have a high number of road crashes mainly because there are more motorists passing through our expressways.  Traditionally, these months coincide with summer vacations, so there are more users out and about. Aside from Oplan: SumVac, which is initiated by LGUs, it is also when NLEX conducts “Safe Trip Mo, Sagot Ko,” a motorist assistance program aimed to enhance  the services along the expressways.

Frequency of Road Crashes in Year 2018 to 2020

***Data based on recorded incidents from 2018 to 2020 by the Traffic Operations Department.

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