CT confiscates motorists' cell phones

Authorities will auction off all the cell phones which have not been collected.

A traffic officer impounds a cellphone on the Nelson Mandela Boulevard on 5 July 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town has revealed that more than 1,300 cell phones have been confiscated from motorists since a bylaw regulating this was introduced in July 2012.

Drivers caught texting or chatting without a hands-free kit behind the wheel will have their phones impounded for 24 hours and forced to pay a fine as well as a hefty release fee.

The impoundment fee of more than R1,100 was only introduced in July this year after the bylaw failed to live up to its aim of curbing distracted driving.

Eyewitness News conducted a snap survey outside the Gallows Hill Traffic Department in Green Point and every few minutes spotted an average of five motorists using their phones behind the wheel.

The City's JP Smith says they have introduced the impound release fee to deter motorists from taking or making calls.

"As of 25 July, 1,342 cell phones have been impounded. Of these, 1,143 cell phones were collected."

Smith says the traffic department remains understaffed and they're still waiting to see if the added release fee will work.

Nearly 200 phones have not been collected yet and will be auctioned off in November.