Cape Town traffic police are closing in on their ten thousandth cellphone confiscation since they began confiscating cellphones in 2012. This isn’t a random thing though. No, they only take the cellphones off people who are using them while driving. You know, the ones who are clearly in contravention of Road Traffic Ordinance Regulation 308A, which prohibits a driver from holding a mobile phone or communication device in one or both hands or with any other part of their body while driving?
“The numbers are staggering and an indication that many motorists still refuse to acknowledge the dangers of using cellular phones while driving. It is astonishing to consider that people will very easily persecute drunk drivers for reckless behaviour, but cannot see the recklessness in fiddling with a cellphone while navigating through traffic,” said mayoral committee member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.
Look, this is Good. News. but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg, as I noted here.
And it seems that, as always, South Africa is high on the list of cellphone naughtiness while at the wheel – as you would expect given the impunity with which we treat traffic and/or any other laws. But it’s not just here that it’s a problem. In the US, the major cellphone companies have joined forces to produce the itcanwait.com campaign, and they’ve released some really good mini-documentaries to get with it:
It would be great if MTN, Vodacom et al. (Al being the only guy who’s still on Cell C) could team up and do something to try and reduce cellphone use while driving.
Although I think we’re still some distance from that tipping point whereby it becomes socially unacceptable to use your phone while at the wheel, I do think that people need something to remind them what tossers they are being, when in every single case – it can wait.
UPDATE: What happens to the over 6000 confiscated phones which haven’t been reclaimed? See this EWN report.