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Drivers' phones to be 'impounded'

2012-06-22 09:09

DRIVERS TO LOSE CELLPHONES: Along with a hefty fine, drivers who are caught using a cellphone while driving could have their mobile devices confiscated.

CAPE TOWN - Earlier in June we reported on a raft of changes government hopes to implement such as a probation period for new drivers and increased road worthy tests for older vehicles.

Now Cape Town drivers who risk talking on their cellphones while driving face having their phones confiscated. Yes, even first-time offenders…

The latest clampdown on drivers who fail to use hands-free kits is the City of Cape Town’s new traffic by-law, passed in 2011.


IOL reports that while it had been proposed that a three-strikes rule would apply before a phone could be confiscated, this idea was scrapped on legal advice.

Even first-time offenders will, from July 1, 2012, be fined for contravening the city's by-law before their cellphones will be confiscated. 

The offending drivers would, however, be permitted to remove their memory and SIM cards before handing over their phones. Those fined would be able to reclaim their phones after 24 hours at no cost.

The city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the city issued more than 8000 fines a month for illegal cellphone use.


Smith added: “So we must find a more powerful disincentive.

“Illegal cellphone use - whether speaking, holding a handset or using the buttons to text - is classified as ‘distracted driving’ and is one of the top four most dangerous driving habits, along with speeding, drinking and driving and not wearing seatbelts.”

The city’s latest move was welcomed by the AA.

Spokesman Gary Ronals said: “You have to admire the innovation, the thinking out of the box. The legislation is clear. The research data on the danger is clear. I don’t have any problem with cracking a different kind of whip if it means saving lives.”

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