Lees jou gunsteling-tydskrifte en -koerante nou alles op een plek teen slegs R99 p.m. Word 'n intekenaar
Now you can lose your car and your phone

Never mind impounding cars, legally confiscating cellphones will add muscle to the city of Cape Town’s proposed new traffic regulations.

Section 69 (1) a. confirms it’s an offence to drive using a cellphone in either or both hands “or with any other part of the body”. Resting on your ample bosom if you’re a lady, perhaps.

If the cops lay in wait outside our block in the morning watching ladies in large 4x4s dropping off kids at a local school, they would end up with a mountain of cellphones, though nearly all are hand-held because any mo­ther can tell you it’s almost impossible to text with your bosom while simultaneously driving and telling your young son not to forget his satchel.

Bus blasphemy banned: But swearing in private is still okay. Photo: archive

I’m a bit of an expert on the draft laws, having waded through all 53 pages of them.

Some I fear will be difficult to implement. For instance section 18 (1) a. says “no driver of a taxi or bus may abandon his or her vehicle”. But what’s to stop a driver leaping out and disappearing over the horizon after crashing yet one more minibus taxi?

Section 50 says you may only use your hooter “when such use is necessary”. But what law enforcement officer must decide when it’s not, when general traffic mayhem is bursting out all round him.

Section 28 (1) n. prohibits the operation of vehicles “not capable of travelling backwards and forwards”.

I can understand the law’s anxiety about vehicles that can’t reverse, but who’s going to operate one that can’t even go forwards? Unless there is something seriously amiss with the transmission, and backwards is the car’s only direction.

I had an old kombi once, and it would only go up steep hills in reverse. Section 65 (1) a. advises don’t drive backwards unless you can do so in safety. One does one’s best.

Section 39 (1) c. bans obscene language in a public vehicle. Fortunately we are still allowed to swear within the privacy of our own car. And section 70 says we may not watch TV while driving because it is “liable to distract the driver”.

So far I have managed to avoid committing this offence.

But one I was accused of the other day was parking in front of a fire hydrant.

I rushed after the cop with my R500 ticket and told him I was at least two metres beyond the hydrant. He retorted that I was “within the hydrant’s area”.

And when I said I would dispute it in court he invited me to “be his guest”.

Now I see, according to section 63 (1) g., the verboten area is “one and a half metres on either side of a fire hydrant”.

I shall enjoy the officer’s hospitality with a tape measure in my hands, and if necessary insist on an in loco inspection.

I hope that Phalaborwa wo­man has similar judicial enjoyment. She received a R500 speeding fine last month for exceeding the limit in an 80 km/h area by driving, according to the ticket, at 75 km/h. And talking of speed, a donkey cart may not approach closer than 150 m to an animal-drawn vehicle ahead “except for the purpose of overtaking”.

That’s section 44 (7). Something to watch for outside the urban areas.

Meer oor:  John Scott  |  Selfone  |  Bestuur  |  Rubriek  |  Mening
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