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'Ordinary folk will foot big-fines bill'

2014-06-13 10:29

VISIBLE ROAD POLICING: Wheels24 reader HENDRIK OBERHOLZER calls for visible road policing, unroadworthy vehicles impounded and for traffic officers to act professionally. Image: SAPA


I agree with the principle to deter irresponsible and dangerous driving but once again it will be the average law-abiding citizen who will suffer the most.  

People who do their best to grow an attitude of considerate driving and are concerned about the health and safety of fellow road users will be the ones paying fines.

Aggressive and dangerous drivers either don’t pay or have enough money not to care.


This unbalanced system of dealing with perpetrators has grown to the stage where the average road-user sees traffic officers as there to steal our hard-earned money and work on their ‘performance bonuses’, not caring in the slightest about road safety. 

How can you foster respect for the law,when one’s experience of those who are supposed to uphold the law is dubious?

Here’s my advice to improve the situation:

1 Traffic officers should always be professional and be friendly. They are paid by us (taxpayers) andwe have a right to expect this.

2 Traffic officers on duty should be taught the principle of "approach and coach" before punishing a offending driver. I knowthere is a fine line between helping somebody and allowing them to get away with bad behaviour but officers should be trained to deal with this.

3 Be visible on our roads - stop hiding behind bushes and camera boxes to supposedly improve our safety. Hiding from view reinforces the view that "they are trying to steal our money" and are not serious about road safety.

4 Perform constant hits on places that sell liquor. Everybody knows where they are and that a large proportion of people leaving will be under the influence and pose a danger to sober road-users.

5 Clamp down on unroadworthy vehicles, especially trucks with tail lights covered in dust and buses with poor brakes. In our society most road users cannot afford a new car or even maintain a vehicle properly but working lights (all of them) and good brakes are not negotiable.

6 Dangerous drivers should be sought out and removed from our roads. You cannot do this behind a bush with a flask in your hand. This is a difficult one to uphold but officers should be trained to look out for this.

7 Improve the condition ofroads and signage.


I know my advice (approach and coach) is contradictory to the ‘no-nonsense approach’ according to minister of transport and public works, Donald Grant.

I believe you should win the respect and support of the average law-abiding citizen first and the rest will flow naturally. An attitude of respect and care will do a lot to remove carelessness and death from our roads.

Thanks for the opportunity to express my feelings and I trust the day will come when citizens of SA will look up proudly to those trusted with our safety and well being.

Reader Jurg Schoeman responds:

I am fully in support of what Hendrick Oberholzer wrote.

One way in which the "approach and coach" can be done in combination with stiffer fines, is to have a three month phasing-in period for all concerned.

In practice, officers would approach and ask offenders to drive more politely, in order to reduce the death toll but still issue tickets based on the new fines system.

However, during the initial three month period one would be able to go and exchange your ticket for a further session of road safety counselling - which can then be done properly by professionals - and pay nothing.

If you don't do this, the ticket is payable in full, not negotiable.

The recent VW movie  to promote "keeping your eyes on the road" (the one with the GSM transmitter in the theatre) - would be a great intro for such coaching sessions!

More readers' responses:

Sky-high traffic fines: Readers respond
Traffic fine increases 'a rip-off'
Fines up, road deaths down...we hope

What do you think of the proposed traffic penalty increases? Will they 'educate' irresponsible drivers? What do you think should be done to curb road deaths? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

Will traffic fine increases in the Western Cape curb irresponsible driving? Have your say in our home page voting booth!

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