City proposes changes to traffic bylaw

2019-10-08 06:00
Taxis operated in contravention of the conditions of approval its operating licence or off the approved route may be impounded according to a draft amendment to the traffic bylaw.

Taxis operated in contravention of the conditions of approval its operating licence or off the approved route may be impounded according to a draft amendment to the traffic bylaw.

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The proposed impoundment of private vehicles set out in the City’s amended traffic bylaw, if approved, will give authorised officials the right, without prior written notice, to impound the vehicles of unlicensed drivers, drunk drivers and street racers as well as unregistered, unlicensed and damaged vehicles.

Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith said this really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We have been saying for years that there is very little to compel behavioural change. As things stand, a motorist arrested for drunk-driving gets right back in the driver’s seat the next day and many of them re-offend because there appear to be very few consequences,” said Smith.

The bylaw, first introduced in 2011, has been amended to include five new chapters dealing with powers and duties of authorised officials, equipment on or in respect of vehicles, animals, driving while under the influence and impoundment of vehicles and forfeiture to the City.

It opened for public participation on Tuesday 1 October.

The chairperson of the City’s safety and security portfolio committee, councillor Mzwakhe Nqavashe said: “Currently, the City’s traffic officers are allowed to impound public transport vehicles where the driver does not have an operating license or is operating in contravention of their license.

The draft amendments make provision for the impoundment of private vehicles under certain circumstances.”

In terms of the draft document, authorised officials may, in the interest and the safety of the public, without prior written notice, impound vehicles where the:

. vehicle was involved in reckless or negligent driving or illegal street racing;

. vehicle is unlicensed or the licence disc has been expired for more than 90 days;

. vehicle is unregistered;

. vehicle is not fitted with licence plates;

. vehicle is damaged or is in a state of disrepair and is, in the opinion of the authorised official, not roadworthy;

. vehicle is a taxi which is being operated in contravention of the conditions of approval its operating licence or off the approved route;

. vehicle has been left abandoned as specified in section 61;

. driver of the vehicle is unlicensed, or the driver does not have his or her driver’s licence available for inspection;

. driver of the vehicle is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect;

. driver did not stop when signalled to do so by an authorised official resulting in the driver having to be pursued and forced to stop.

Nqavashe said statistics showed, year-on-year, that there was no change in behaviour relating to transgressions like illegal street racing and driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

“The portfolio committee devised the amendments, in consultation with various other parties, in a bid to force road users who insist on breaking the rules of the road with reckless abandon to change their behaviour, and make our roads safer for all,” he said.

Also, the chapter dealing with public transport operators now includes a section that speaks specifically to the e-hailing sector. It requires drivers of e-hailing vehicles operating within the City’s jurisdiction to clearly display a tag identifying the vehicle as such, along with a valid operating license.

The public participation process runs until Thursday 31 October. Submissions can be made online at www.capetown.gov.za or view the draft bylaw at your local library or subcouncil office. Written submissions can be delivered to the nearest subcouncil office.

V The amended draft bylaw document is available at http://bit.co/trafficbylaw.

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