File photo: David Ritchie

Motorists taking a chance by talking on their cellphones when they think traffic officers are not around should think again. The metro police has a video unit and some of its tasks include recording motorists who handle their cellphones while driving.

City motorist Mugamad Jacobs said he was surprised to receive a fine posted to him after he was videotaped while allegedly handling his cellphone while driving. He was apparently captured on camera while driving in the vicinity of the M5 and N2 in Mowbray on October 1.

“When I opened the letter, the first thing I did was laugh. I was a bit of a surprise for me to receive a fine like this. I want to go see the video,” Jacobs said of his R300 ticket.

SMILE, YOU’RE ON CAMERA

Metro police camera response and video unit superintendent Barry Schuller said they have a team of uniformed officers who videotape traffic offences like illegal overtaking and crossing barrier lines.

Unit members were deployed to places like Hospital Bend and the N2 bus lane where errant motorists could not be flagged down as it could interrupt the traffic flow.

The unit also captures on camera motorists handling cellphones while driving.

“The public get to see the video if they want to,” said Schuller.

He said 20 313 driving offences were videotaped during the last financial year, 58 of them motorists who had handled cellphones. “The previous financial year, 109 motorists were caught using their cellphones.

“I think the by-law on having cellphones confiscated may have contributed to the decrease in the number of motorist using their phones while driving,” said Schuller. -Cape Times