Cape cellphone by-laws effective

An impoundment fee was introduced on cellphones in July this year as an added punitive measure.

FILE: 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 has confiscated at least three cellphones from Cape Town motorists per day since it introduced a tariff on impounded cellphones.

The city said on Tuesday that it has seized more than 1,300 mobile phones since the Western Cape cellphone by-law was introduced in July last year.

Under the by-law, motorists caught using their phones while driving will have their devices impounded.

The city's JP Smith said an R1, 140 impoundment fee was introduced in July this year as an added punitive measure.

"One hundred cellphones have been impounded since the introduction of the tariff on 1 July this year. In other words, over the last month, we've impounded about three phones a day."

Smith said the city hopes the new release fee will help deter distracted driving.

"We're trying to assess the improvements in levels of compliance over time, which is something the traffic department will track. They will determine whether the measure is adding benefit."

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News conducted a survey outside the Gallows Hill Traffic Department on Tuesday and spotted an average of five motorists breaking the law every five minutes.