Cellphone by-law not enough

Cape Town admits its cellphone by-law has done very little to stop distracted drivers.

A motorist’s cellphone impounded on the Nelson Mandela Boulevard on 5 July 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town told Eyewitness News on Sunday it was disappointed with its cellphone by-law.

The law, which was implemented last year, states if a motorist is caught chatting or texting on their phones behind the wheel, they will be fined and have their devices confiscated for 24 hours.

But city bosses admit it has done very little to stop distracted drivers.

The Automobile Association (AA) said it was surprised Cape Town's cellphone by-law is not working.

In the first few weeks of implementation, drivers stood by the rules.

But nearly a year later the city's JP Smith said the by-law has little effect.

"We certainly have not reached the target that we have set in order to curb distracted driving.

"The city said it was not thinking about scrapping the law.

"On July 1 offenders will have to pay a R1,140 fine to get their impounded cellphones back."

The AA's Gary Ronald said when the law was initially implemented it had worked.

"At the start of the programme we were taken back a little bit and thought that it was a really silly idea.

"We didn't think it was going to work but surprisingly enough, it had."