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A motorist was due to appear in court today after being caught using a speed jammer to prevent his speed being recorded electronically.
Traffic officers spotted him racing along the N3 near Heidelberg, Gauteng, in a modified Toyota Corolla and estimated his speed at more than 200km/h.
Their trapping devices wouldn’t record, so they pulled him over and discovered he had a laser jammer on his back seat.
Gauteng traffic police spokeswoman Busaphi Nxumalo said the man, in his early thirties, was charged with defeating the ends of justice and was due to appear in the Heidelberg Magistrate’s Court today.
LEGAL TO OWN ONE
It is not illegal to own the jamming devices. They can be bought from a number of websites for prices ranging from R2500 to R8000. It’s illegal, though, to be caught using one to defeat the ends of justice.
“It blocks the signal of the police lasers so they can’t detect the speed of a vehicle,” explained Nxumalo.
The arrest is one of only a few made over what is believed to be South Africa’s deadliest festive season.
Justice Project SA chairman Howard Dembovsky called for a national day of mourning for all road fatality victims on Friday.
Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) acting chief executive Collins Letsoalo said at the weekend that vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of unnatural death in the country.
The death toll topped 1300 on Saturday, but is expected to rise to about 1600 by Thursday, when the festive season officially ends.
There are fears it could hit 1600 because 12 000 people were injured during the recording period, with some still expected to die from their injuries within the 30-day cut-off for counting road deaths.
IS RTMC DYSFUNCTIONAL?
Dembovsky has lashed out at the RTMC for the death toll, accusing it of being “dysfunctional” and unable to co-ordinate law enforcement.
Based on the RTMC’s own report listing arrests made nationally between December 1 and 25, Dembovsky calculated that it took:
- 15 traffic officers to arrest one drunk driver;
- 1138 traffic officers to arrest one speedster;
- 1531 traffic officers to arrest one negligent driver;
- 1217 traffic officers to arrest one overloaded vehicle; and
- 1369 traffic officers to arrest one fraudulent driver.
Dembovsky also found that each officer stopped less than one vehicle a day over the same period and five infringement notices were given out per traffic officer.
The RTMC’s report had revealed that 1153 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol; 123 for excessive speeding; 32 for reckless and negligent driving; 78 for excessive overloading; and 46 for fraudulent, false or non-existent driving licences and documents.
Dembovsky based his calculations on the fact that there were 17 000 traffic officers in South Africa.
61 PERCENT WERE HEAD-ONS
“It is totally unacceptable that in the same period, 890 crashes, which killed 1098 people, occurred, and 11 of the 18 major crashes investigated by the RTMC (61 percent) were head-on collisions.”
Head-on collisions mostly occur as a result of dangerous and illegal overtaking, he said.
He said the high death toll highlighted “the acute lack of professional, visible traffic policing which would contribute greatly to making South Africa’s roads much safer”.
Last week, Letsoalo blamed road deaths on bad driving habits, exonerating the RTMC, saying it had done all in its power to make the roads safer.
But Dembovsky said the RTMC could not blame road users alone, as the corporation had been formed to co-ordinate law enforcement and ensure road safety. It had failed dismally in this task, he said.
He said traffic authorities had almost completely abandoned visible policing, in pursuit of financial gain from the use of speed cameras, with little or no moving-violation enforcement.
“The entire traffic policing issue must be revisited and its methodologies seriously questioned,” he said. -The Star