Drivers' phones to be 'impounded'

2012-06-22 09:09

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.”

  • frans.vanderpoll - 2012-06-22 09:36

    So will the police issue a receipt? BTW, I suggest the START with the police. Why must they talk on their phones while driving? To my knowledge there are two way radios in police vehicles.

      Mark - 2012-06-22 14:14

      This is rediculous, I was pulled over and falsely accused by a cop for talking on my cell ( I have a built in car kit) so does that mean in future I'll have to give them my new iPhone?

  • steveroodt - 2012-06-22 09:37

    All i can say it is about Time Hope this Happens in Durban

  • erich.goosen - 2012-06-22 09:41

    I am all for it that drivers cellphones be temporary 'confiscated' but wonder how practicable will this measure be. It is a well-known fact that sophicsticated cellphones are sought after and that money, drugs and firearms have disappeared after being taken in custody by some of the law enforcers. What guarantee is there that this will not happen again. We are dealing with the SAP and traffic authorities, not the Pope or the Dalai Lama.

      Mark - 2012-06-22 14:22

      Exactly my point.... It will make the cops even MORE corrupt.... they'll be pulling over every second driver....

  • ryno.pretorius.52 - 2012-06-22 09:43

    I'd like to see them try take my phone, if I have it in my pocket and someone tries to remove it, itks considered assault and I have full right to defend myself! You going to now see many more cases of assault being opened against the police!

      clive.kihn - 2012-06-22 10:05

      Read the article, Ryno: if it's in your pocket you are not holding it in your hand and talking on it, so they are not likely to want to take it. Otherwise, obey the law and you'll probably be okay.

      stefan.vanderspuy - 2012-06-22 10:27

      It is a fact that it is extremely dangerous to use a cellphone while driving. But confiscation is ridiculous and again the authorities are creating a massive administrative burden for themselves. Stick to a hefty fine.

  • barry.moyle.3 - 2012-06-22 09:49

    Time to stop these idiots talking and texting on their phones! They are more dangerous than drunk drivers! I'm all for it and was a victim of such a person causing a 6 car pile up on the N1 near William Nicol on Wednesday this week which also created a huge gridlock.

      barry.moyle.3 - 2012-06-22 09:51

      While they are about it, arrest them and throw them in jail for a week.

      barry.moyle.3 - 2012-06-22 09:58

      And then, community service over a month of weekends at a local emergency room to see what their actions can cause...

      alet.mans - 2012-06-23 13:43

      We totally agree!! And saw the same accident on Wednesday. Lock up the idiots who talk on telephones! Before you dial, google cellphone road accidents and then decide if you want to answer your telephone. Respect others (and your children) & stop doing it!

  • reveng21 - 2012-06-22 09:58

    I hope getting your phone back is made impossible. People talking was bad enough but these days people are texting with both hands! Risk you own life sure go ahead but the lives of others especially children! I won't be feeling anyone sorry for not getting back there pricey phone!

  • clive.kihn - 2012-06-22 10:00

    Good, but all other traffic rules must be strictly enforced as well, including the cops wearing seat belts.

  • joyplewis - 2012-06-22 10:09

    Excellent and about time too. This should also apply to the Police as well as Frans suggests as they too are guilty. Well done!!!

  • gideon.joubert.10 - 2012-06-22 10:10

    Utter bullsh**! Who gives the state the right to confiscate my property? Issue a heftier fine and actually enforce the rules of the road for a change, instead of making new more intrusive ones! Stop trying to cover up your law enforcement shortcomings with nonsense! This will not solve the problem, it needs to be addressed at its roots. Is it not clear how open to abuse this would be?

      gideon.joubert.10 - 2012-06-22 10:19

      Make it a R2000+ fine if caught, and make bloody sure that the fine is paid. That would hurt the pocket without needlessly confiscating property.

      Karen Durant II - 2012-06-22 11:25

      ek stem! dis mos diefstal, dan ni???

      gideon.joubert.10 - 2012-06-22 12:42

      The police and traffic department have more than sufficient powers as are, but law enforcement is not done. Do not cry on my shoulder if your property is unfairly confiscated. This system will be implimented and abused by the same people about whom you all are complaining!

  • OSSY24 - 2012-06-22 10:10


      selwyn.lloyd.37 - 2012-06-22 10:41

      Ai man moenie strond praat nie man!!!

  • david.lebethe - 2012-06-22 10:14

    Who says hands-free kit is a solution? People react the same way as with conventional phones. I believe in total outlaw of cellphones while driving.

  • lynn.adank - 2012-06-22 10:21

    Polise and Metro are mostly on the phones in their vehicles. I wonder how many people will ever get their phones back after they were confiscated, i is more like a nother way for the law inforcers to make extra money on the side. or some how you will get someone elses trash phone back, because the receipt nos were mixed up, or something anyway, its a joke!

      Karen Durant II - 2012-06-22 11:24

      i agree!! they don't adhere 2 the rules if the road, bad examples & besides the phones will be lost(stolen)...just saying..

  • gerhardus.windpomp - 2012-06-22 10:22

    lol! you can have my nokia 1280 any day. there is a box full at home.

  • robin.stobbs.9 - 2012-06-22 10:25

    About time! But why only in Cape Town? This long-needed piece of legislation needs to be effective throughout the country.

  • IcemanGP - 2012-06-22 10:25

    Good, they must do it in Joburg too. Rich twats here can't afford hands free kits, yet drive 300 thousand rand cars.

  • Richard.Poulton - 2012-06-22 10:31

    The fact is, people these days would rather depart of R200 then be without their phone for a day. This is good. People drive like turkeys when using their phones.

  • fungai.dube.12 - 2012-06-22 10:54

    It will be a gvt day robery.

  • Karen Durant II - 2012-06-22 11:38

    besides all the cons against it, why can't i have my cell in my hand? others have cigarets, make up, food & even liquor bottles, etc in their hands while driving! all of which can cause serious accidents. why don't take that away from them???

  • O.J. - 2012-06-22 12:17

    Great Idea

  • martin.a.fairhurst - 2012-06-22 13:07

    I can't remember the last time I saw a traffic law enforcer on the road except of course behind a speed camera (selective enforcement, which is not constitutional). The real problem is lack of visual presence so people feel they are not being watched. It's high time the traffic police did some work and showed themselves. Their real duty is to be of assistance to the road user and to ensure that drivers operate within the law. You can legislate until you are blue in the face but if there is no enforcement of ALL the rules what does it matter. I ride a motorcycle so I do not talk when riding but I do often have to take evasive action to avoid those that do. Its already illegal but does not stop anybody from doing it now does it? So this is yet another lame ass attempt at getting people to be responsible when it clearly does not work. I seldom see taxi drivers talking on the phone but it does not stop them from driving in an inconsiderate manner (which incidentally is also against the law). Get the visible policing to a more acceptable standard and the results will be far better than new legislation. Here I was thinking the DA were smart but this is just another dumb ass idea from government.

  • shaine.gordon - 2012-06-22 23:13

    shows how useless gov is, and how gullible people are. there are numerous independent reports showing that using hands free offers little to no improvement in driver concentration

  • raath - 2012-06-27 14:24

    Only a court can order your possessions to be taken. The logistics and legalities around taking someone's phone is too immense. We are talking about traffic officers who can't even write a proper citation, now you want them to keep track of confiscated phones? Administrative and legal nightmare.

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