Joburg Metro Traffic Fines are a Money-Making Racket
Took a taxi trip this morning from Sunninghill through to Midrand in what had to be one of the most unroadworthy vehicles I’ve ever had the misfortune of being in. With the roads wet and busy, I genuinely was concerned for my safety and that of the other 10 people in the taxi with me.
The tyres on the van were all in different stages of wear and tear, and even look like they were two different sizes. The back of the drivers’ seat was broken so that he had to sit upright without anything supporting his back. There was no rearview mirror on the inside of the windscreen, which was cracked as well. The whole thing creaked, groaned and complained at being forced into continued service – clearly well past its “Use-By” date!
All that though is beside the point here – while driving we went past at least two separate sets of Joburg Metro traffic police sitting on the side of the highway. On both occassions I watched the cops as they watched us go by. Neither of them even blinked at the shocking state of the taxi as it went by. When I got to my destination just now, I discovered why.
I came across the Sandton Chroncile paper from last week and saw in the Autodealer supplement inside it an article about the new numberplates that are being implemented in Gauteng. (That sounds like a story for another day though!) The bit that got me in the article though was a quote from a guy named Rob Handfield-Jones. He is the managing director of a driving skills company called Driving.co.za. In the article he talks about how speed trapping hasn’t been able to reduce road accident fatalities even though, since 1998 “six times as many speed fines are issued per year, (but) fatality risk on our roads has doubled” in the same period.
The eye-opener though comes later where Handfield-Jones says:
The extent to which other (traffic) offences are ignored in favour of lucrative speeding prosecutions is proven by statistics by the RTMC: for every 100,000 speeding fines issued in Johannesburg, only 240 are issued for disobeying the rules of the road.
240 for every 100,000!! That means 98.9% of all fines issued in Johannesburg are for speeding! It’s no wonder that taxi drivers (and others, let’s be fair) get away with driving like idiots and fools, and running clearly unroadworthy death traps.
There’s just no money in it for the Metro Police, and clearly processing moving violations and other road rule disobeyers is too much like hard work for them. So much easier to snooze in the van for 6 hours and let a sneaky hidden camera do all the work.