4 July 2012
According to a new Cape Town bylaw, which went into effect on Monday, motorists caught talking or texting on their mobile phones will be fined R500 and have their phones confiscated for a day.
City of Cape Town safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith hopes these measures will “help people get the message” and improve road safety.
He said the new regulations formed part of a provincial road safety campaign to halve road deaths by 2014.
Szemerei said it was crucial to monitor the success of the regulations to determine whether they should be extended to the whole country.
“If it does result in fewer accidents on the roads, then we would advocate this legislation being rolled out to all provinces.”
She said global studies indicated that texting while driving caused more accidents than talking, as motorists’ eyes were taken off the road. Hands-free kits did not solve the problem of texting.
The stricter laws on cellphone use while driving in Cape Town will probably bring down car insurance premiums, an insurer said on Tuesday.
“This ruling is likely to result in fewer claims being paid due to a decrease in the number of accidents,” IntegriSure CEO Helen Szemerei said.
“Fewer claims mean a larger pool of premium funds, and should therefore result in a subsequent relief in motor insurance premiums.”
IntegriSure warned motorists that insurance companies might not pay out claims if it could be reliably proven that they had driven negligently or recklessly.