Steeper fines, cops getting serious

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IOL mot pic jul28 Durban fines 1 inlsa Constable Ayesha Essop of eThekwini Metro Police reads the hand-held scanner that checks number plates of approaching cars, immediately alerting traffic officers to any outstanding fines. Picture: Terry Haywood

Durban - Drivers caught breaking the rules of the road in the eThekwini Municipality face far stiffer fines than previously.

The recent annual rise in penalties more than doubles admission of guilt fines for transgressions such as speeding and not making way for emergency vehicles.

Among the biggest increases is the penalty for failing to comply with the instruction or direction of a traffic officer. The fine - previously R1000 - is now R2500, more than the fine for driving a light motor vehicle without a licence, which is R2000.

Not giving right of way to an emergency vehicle sounding a siren or displaying identification goes up from R500 to R1500.

Some fines, however, have decreased.

Drivers not carrying their licences previously had to cough up R250; now they face lesser punishments, with fines ranging from R100, depending on the licence code.

eThekwini Municipality spokeswoman Tozi Mthethwa said the increases were an annual adjustment determined by the Department of Justice, and varied according to the nature of the offence.

SPEEDING

Speeding fines have also increased, with the adjustments depending on the type of vehicle that is being driven.

The new speeding fines for light motor vehicles exceeding a 60km/h limit in an urban area are:

R300 for driving 71km/h to 74km/h - up from R200.

R700 for driving 80km/h to 84km/h - up from R400.

R1000 for driving 85km/h to 90km/h - up from R500.

Breaking an 80km/h speed limit, indicated by a road traffic sign, carries new admission of guilt fines:

R300 for driving 91km/h to 94km/h - up from R100.

R400 for driving 95km/h to 99km/h - up from R150.

R500 for driving 100km/h to 104km/h - up from R200.

R600 for driving 105km/h to 109km/h - up from R250.

R700 for driving 110km/h to 114km/h - up from R300.

R800 for driving 115km/h to 119km/h - up from R400.

New admission of guilt fines for exceeding the speed limit in a 120km/h zone are:

R1500 for driving 150km/h to 154km/h - up from R700.

R2000 for driving 155km/h to 160km/h - up from R1 000.

eThekwini's new speeding fines are higher than those in the Western Cape, sometimes by as much as R800, and for transgressing the speed limit by less.

The fine for an unlicensed Code B driver is now R2000, up from R1000.

Drivers who operate heavy motor vehicles, such as an articulated vehicle of more than 16 000kg a rigid vehicle of more than 16 000kg pulling a trailer of more than 750kg, without the driving licence to do so, will be fined R5000. The previous amount was not supplied by the municipality.

Another hefty increase is for failing to comply with an instruction of an inspector of licences, which is now R2500, as opposed to R1000.

Operating an unroadworthy vehicle will cost drivers R1500, up from R1 000.

The eThekwini municipality did not respond to questions regarding the collection rate of traffic fines.

SMSes KEEP CAPE TOWN’S FINE MONEY ROLLING IN

Meanwhile, the City of Cape Town has persuaded errant motorists to part with R43 million more in traffic fines compared to 2013.

Cape Town traffic services reported R142.3 million in 'traffic income' uring its 2014 financial year (ending June 2014). This is significantly higher than its 2012/13 financial year of R99.3 million.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the increase was not because more fines were being issued but through interventions such as SMS notifications.

Although the fine recovery rate was the best in the country, it was still less than 40 percent, he said.

"Only through ensuring that traffic offenders are compelled to face the consequences of their actions can we change their road behaviour and make our roads safer," said Smith.

PILOT PROJECT

The SMS intervention started as a pilot project in April 2014, when the city's traffic fine management department rolled out a reminder service.

In addition first notices of fines were sent by mail, along with a confirmation SMS. The second notice was replaced by a text message. Fourteen days later motorists received a final SMS warning that failing to settle would result in a summons.

"The department receives large quantities of 'return to sender' first notices due to the fact that the physical addresses where vehicles are registered are not updated. This is why the department started the SMS initiative," Smith said.

In addition, Cape Town traffic used number plate recognition to track offenders with outstanding warrants.

The Mercury; Cape Argus



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