Chris Moerdyk

E-Tolling and the farce of false number plates

2012-01-02 08:29

If it wasn’t so frustrating, arrogant and smacking of the worst kind of bullying, this whole business of e-tolling of the roads around Johannesburg would be really funny.

I mean, here we have a bunch of people who seriously think that by taking photographs of cars that don’t carry e-tags will mean that they will be able to track down the owners and make them pay. What a hoot.

Number plates and magistrates

Already there are thousands upon thousands of motorists who drive around with false number plates to fool the speed trap cameras. They never appear to get caught and they cause a lot of heartache for the owners of cars with the legitimate registration numbers they have copied.

You just have to pop down to your local traffic court to hear prosecutors calling out for people who have been falsely summonsed and who have stupidly gone to court with the hope that they can tell a magistrate just how inconvenient it is when some bastard copies your number plate and puts you through the judicial mill.

Of course, no prosecutor will ever let a case like that get in front of a magistrate, so expecting to have your day in court just doesn’t work.

Its my guess that the incidence of false number plates will increase rapidly with the advent of e-tolling, in spite of the fact that we are told those new-fangled Gauteng number plates can't be copied. When you look at the number of fake ID books, passports and heaven knows what else, then no matter how clever those new number plates are the shysters will find a way of copying them.

Which means that not only will SANRAL fail to collect as much money as they thought, but a lot more honest, law-abiding citizens will have to put up with being hounded by fines, summonses and threats that have nothing to do with them.

Almost funny ideas

One really has to marvel at how naive our road traffic authorities are when it comes to trying to manage South Africa’s motorists.

Take this latest idea, for example. Confiscating drivers' licences when traffic cops catch someone breaking the law.

Given that about one third of all motorists don’t actually have driver’s licences, this is going to mean that there will be a heck of a lot of wasted time and energy.

And what about this new idea to cut the speed limit? Since when do South Africans actually stick to speed limits? Quite apart from which, all this will do is cause added frustration and more reckless driving as a result of those few law abiding motorists driving doggedly at the new low speed limit and holding up the many non law-abiding motorists who will do increasingly stupid things out of sheer irritability.

If it wasn't so damn tragic it would be a joke.

All will not be fine

So many stupid ways of trying to cut the death toll on our roads when all that is needed is for traffic cops to be allowed to get out on the roads and be seen to be nailing motorists for moving violations instead of doing what they are forced to do now and that is to spend their days desperately trying to bring more and more money into their corruption-ridden local municipalities with speed and parking fines.

The death toll on SA's roads will not decline until the money factor is taken out of it all.

Rich people laugh at fines; poor people just don’t pay them. What needs to happen is that cars need to be confiscated, impounded or just taken off the road for a while for the driver to cool down and get a life. That’s the only language that SA motorists will understand.

That and the very simple rule of no drinking and driving – finish and klaar.


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