This festive season proved to be a challenging one for local authorities, with over 5 000 arrests made and close to 900 cellphones confiscated from motorists.
As cellphones have become a virtual extension of ourselves, more and more people find themselves unable to disconnect and put their devices down. This is proving particularly difficult for Cape Town motorists with hundreds being fined each month for using their phones while driving.
Roughly 880 cellphones were impounded over December 2019 as hundreds of drivers were stopped along their journeys while driving with their phones in hand.
While Cape Town’s largest problems still remain driving under the influence of alcohol and outstanding fines, cellphone use while driving is fast becoming a plague of its own, with a large number of accidents being linked to distracted drivers who are talking or texting on their phones while driving. It only takes a split second to cause a huge accident that could claim the lives of innocent people.
“We are not winning this battle. We have impounded 1500 phones a month, we’ve done 4 477 phones between July and October (2017), so we’re impounding a lot more. We’ve stepped up enforcement, and fines,”said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety, Security and Social Services, City of Cape Town.
The City has their hands full and if a local is caught driving with their cellphone in hand they can be fined up to R500 for contravening the rules of the road, their cellphone will be taken away and a further impound fee will apply to get the phone back. Offenders can expect to pay a R1,165 fee for the release of an impounded electronic device.
As the struggle against this more recent driving danger continues, motorists are reminded to put their safety and the safety of others first and return the phone call later or reply once parked.