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Get out of the bushes! Users respond to SA's hidden cops

2015-10-23 11:35

THIS IS NOT VISIBLE POLICING: South Africa needs more visible policing. A traffic cop snapping speeding drivers is not effective. Image: Arrive Alive.

Cape Town - On Tuesday, Wheels24 published a Q&A with Howard Dembovsky, national chairman of the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA), regarding hidden traffic officers and speed cameras on our roads.

A large proportion of the public believes speed-trapping, especially by officers hiding behind bushes and barriers, is unethical and should be illegal.

In short, Dembovsky said: "They are allowed to hide pretty much anywhere they like..."

What does the law say about cops hiding bushes? Click here for the full story!

News24 poll

Wheels24 asked users if they believe hidden speed traps and traffic officers hiding in bushes is effective at reducing speeding drivers and riders on SA's roads.

A News24 poll garnered 30 403 votes:

  • No, SA needs visible policing - 13507 votes
  • No, it's only effective at generating fines - 14536 votes
  • Yes, it curbs speeding on SA's roads - 1496 votes
  • Yes, it stops repeat offenders - 864 votes

Nearly half of respondents (14 536 votes, 48%) believe speed traps are only beneficial for filling government's coffers. This is alarming as it reveals the lack of confidence South Africans have in local law-enforcement.

More than 13 000 called for visible policing.

Unsurprisingly, only 1496 believe speed-trapping to be effective at stopping speedsters and even fewer (864/3%) said it curbs "repeat offenders".

READ: SA's top 10 safest driving cities revealed

Users respond

Rassie Erasmus says: Traffic cops should be visible along our roads. When I see a cop car I slow down even if I am not speeding. There is no use in hiding behind a tree! How is that contributing to road safety?

Jan Olivier says: Trapping does not alleviate the immediate danger of a speeding car. Have visible officers with their equipment posted at problem areas. The speedsters will see it, slow down and even tell their friends.

A combination of fixed and manned cameras strategically and visibly placed should resolve the problem. It should never be a source of income. Less chance of corruption that way.

Ryno Potgieter says: Speed traps are stupid. They should do what they do on the West Coast road - cameras every 10km and you get trapped for average speed - do that for a month and see how you change driving habits on our roads. Our roads have become a hell on earth with arrogant speeding drivers that drive aggressively and recklessly.

We need more speed-policing but a speed trap with a camera is not effective. It will never change behaviour. The increase in fines in August 2014 was a good start  but we need more invisible speed traps to hit pockets more often and harder. A speed fine on every block seems the only way to keep drivers to stick to speed limits.

'Fill-up their coffers'

Ndlovu Gatsheni says: Traffic cops think trapping speeding vehicles lowers road fatalities, in disguise they have targets and budget around traffic fines. They don't have any interest in  lowering road death but to fill-up their coffers. 

The message sent to road users is simple - speed as long as you can pay off your fines. Sucking money from motorists doesn't demotivate offending drivers/riders. 

Hope one day they will wake up and think strait, change their strategy n remember that they are there to serve, promote traffic safety and curb lawlessness on on our public roads. Intimidating motorists by hiding behind bushes and bullying road users by doubling the penalty fees wont make our roads safer...

Eddy Moeketsi says: In my view speed cameras fines creates more administrative and financial back locks for the traffic departments than solve the actual problem itself. There's no way in hell people can afford to pay those fines in such a crippled economy that keeps getting worse. In fact arresting people might be the best way to get people to tow the line. 

In Gauteng for example, people can't even afford to keep up with paying e-tolls already. So, how on earth are road users expected to miraculously have money to pay fines when they have so much to worry about economically. 

'Police should hide'

Wouter van Staden says: The police should hide behind the barriers etc. because the speedster not only kills himself but innocent people die in the scene as well.

I hate the fact that people think they can drive past you MORE than 120km/h and think the legal driver is the illegal one.

Speeding should become a more serious matter on the high ways.

READ: Top quality cars, bakkies in SA revealed

Anton Tromp says: What does it matter if the cops are hiding in a bush or not? If you obey the law you won't get caught!  It is only speedsters that put other people's lives in danger that are worried about cops hiding in the bush. 

Robbie Duvivier says: Speed trapping from the other side of the road is apparently legal, I suppose that the angle from which the speed measuring device is situated must be within certain specifications.

Also when speed trapping from across the road then the speed measuring device should be fixed and not be able to swing 180 degrees to speed trap from the other direction.

Stefan Oosthuizen says: The fact that this is legal bothers me, at the end of the day what should the intention of metro police be? To discourage speeding in the first place or to fine after the fact? In many other countries, stationary speed camera's are large and painted in bright colours, not trying to catch motorist for speeding, encouraging motorists to not speed in the first place.

I have been fined many times on the N1, always by some cop hiding in the bushes and to be honest, this has not discouraged me from driving 140km/h on the highway.

Let's say the police see the light and erect stationary camera's every few km's on popular stretches of the highway or even better, use the existing e-toll system to implement Average speed enforcement, I would have no choice but to drive the speed limit. Furthermore that Officer who would've been wasting his time sitting next to a highway looking at cars passing by could be redeployed to combat more serious crimes, patrol higher risk areas or any number of more productive assignments that would actually benefit the public.

Jako Lombard says: Speed trapping in my opinion is not effective as all will hopefully agree. We need to stick with the limit and obey the rules/law.

There are many places to go to go test your vehicles optimum performance and track the times around a race track (at own risk with safety clothing and Helmets) and so much less endangerment of any persons around you and yourself...and it is fun. I am sure there are companies out there that does these “advanced driving techniques” 

Road rage is probably also one of the effects that will happen when one driver sticks to the Limit and the other does not care (Reckless driving even at low speeds).
Sticking to the Drivers license tests and do a yearly or once every three years test to see if you are still capable of driving correctly and know the road signs and what they are there for. Roadworthy of vehicles also needs to be implemented occasionally like big trucks have to go through regularly.  

Unmarked police and traffic police vehicles needs to be implemented and why do they have marked vehicles? It’s a risk for them as a policeman/woman to drive those marked cars.

Get all to understand the consequences of the law and speeding, and try preventing it as long as possible.

Vaughn Mac Donald says: I strongly oppose hidden traffic officials. In some overseas countries it's called entrapment and therefore not allowed... Although they have some purpose most of it is abused and therefore I feel their time should be used elsewhere more productively...

Ron Brown says: Drivers who exceed the speed limit should be trapped by any means possible. Whether the officer is sitting in the shrubbery or out in the open if the person is speeding he must be punished. I think speeding fines should be a percentage either of your income or the value of your vehicle because so often is the wealthy with fancy cars that think they "own" the roads.

Read more on:    jpsa  |  south africa  |  speeding  |  road deaths

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