Cellphones headed to the slammer

It has recently been reported that the Republic of the Western Cape have implemented new traffic bylaws, coming into affect as of 2 July. Stories like this are not uncommon and many an office worker’s inbox has been laden with such emails, as well as those other kind, you know the kind I mean.

However this bit of email wisdom seemed to hold truth, in what could be seen as a hands free or no phone law, motorists will have their phones confiscated by police should they be caught talking or texting on their phones. Good luck arguing with the law if you were simply trying to tell Siri what to do iPhoners – I don’t see this going down well for you. Motorists not only face the threat of having their phone impounded in the extremely well run police departments and also being fined R5 000, which is a substantial amount to pay for an avoidable habit.

The new bylaw is part of a provincial road safety campaign to cut road deaths in half by 2014. Studies have found that upwards of 20% of all car accidents involve cellphone use of some kind, which totals more than a million collisions per year that might have been avoided without cellphones involved. Cape Town’s Safety and Security Mayoral Committee Member, JP Smith said Cape Town was the only city where the road death toll was decreasing steadily, from 1 739 deaths in 2008 to 1 321 in 2011.

The minimal amount of time that your attention is taken away from the road when you’re texting and driving is five seconds. This doesn’t sound like a long time but if you are travelling at 80kmph this equals driving the length of a rugby field without looking at the road!

Confiscated cellphones will need to be collected at the Gallow Hills Traffic Department in Green Point after 24 hours. Motorists would have to show their identity books. According to the report, phones would be sealed in a box and people given a serial number. Whilst the system seems great on paper I am sure there will be a few motorists phoneless after their brush with the law for longer than 24 hours.

Recently reviewed on DriveRSA the Parrot MINIKIT range may help motorists avoid a beating to their wallet. The very easy-to-use hands-free Bluetooth kits allows you can make and receive calls while driving, and still keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. The refined shape and monochrome design – ranging from matte to glossy black – makes these devices truly modern which will find its place in the interior of any car.

Parrot Minikit Plus and Parrot Minikit Smart is currently available from Cellucity stores at R 899 and R999 respectively, also their online store at www.smac.co.za


Justin Stephenson

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