has reported that the City of Cape Town will be handing out heavy fines for people caught talking on their cellphones or texting while in the driver’s seat.
The new by-law, that took effect on 1 July, could see motorists having their phones confiscated as well as receiving a R500 fine.
Cell phones can then be collected after a 24 hour period from the Gallow Hills Traffic Department, in Green Point that includes weekends. Drivers will also be required to produce a valid ID document in order to have the phone returned to them.
Safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith, who hopes that the new by-law will send a strong message across to drivers who are in the habit of texting or talking while behind the wheel, said that “Phones will be placed in very secure containers, which have a double seal [and serial number]. The box will be sealed and opened in front of the motorist.”
According to IOL, the by-law states that:
- Motorists may not drive a vehicle on a public road while holding a cellphone or any other communication device in one or both hands or with any other part of the body.
- Motorists may not drive while using or operating a cellphone or other communication device unless it is attached to the vehicle or is a fixture in the vehicle and remains attached while in use.
- Hands-free kits or headgear must be designed in such a way that the user does not need to hold the device with any part of the body.
Smith also warned that traffic officials will be on the look out to enforce the by-law throughout the city.
Due to the additional administrative costs of holding cell phones at the traffic department, Smith revealed that impoundment fees are likely to be introduced in about a year’s time.