Tow trucks, public need policing

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THE front page article in The Herald (“Tow trucks dodge law,” February 11) caught my eye as this is a contentious issue in Port Elizabeth.

Nothing surprised me in how it was reported as there are so many motorists who have been bullied off the road by these chaps rushing at high speed to be the first at the scene.

I must say I developed a smirk on my face as I was reading, when I saw that Fabian Roberts added that his members were trained in first aid. I just knew this angle would be thrown in to justify their actions.

The only reason they race to scenes is because of the fact that they have instructions by the tow truck bosses who want their employees to ensure that they secure the business. This is a money issue and has absolutely nothing to do with humanitarian aid.

In doing so, these chaps do not only speed at well above the limits with their powerful vehicles but also ignore red robots, stop streets and overtake in the face of oncoming traffic, to mention but a few of the traffic violations.

The accidents they are involved in when driving at these speeds are usually very serious; so trying to convince us that their accident rates are low if compared to statistics is also not a convincing argument.

These chaps are normal citizens and should be prosecuted for transgressing the various laws they are breaking.

They do have a vital service to perform but must adhere to the law in doing so.

The second aspect to the article was the failure by the traffic department to enforce the payment of speeding fines.

Some of the reasons why drivers could not be brought to book were false number plates, failure to identify who was driving at the time of offence (vehicle registered under proxy) and motorcycles which only have rear number plates.

It has become quite obvious that the unmanned camera system is ineffective and basically useless; it is merely convenient as no work is required.

To remedy this situation the traffic department needs to return to the traffic officer on the ground who pulls you over once you have broken the law.

That “oke” with his shiny boots, handlebar moustache, huge star on his chest and mirror sunglasses who steps out onto the road with his white gloved hand outstretched; beckoning you to stop for a friendly chat.

This was the most terrifying sight any motorist ever had to face on the roads.

Vehicle number plates can then be verified, drivers licenses can be checked, driver is identified and becomes responsible for paying the fine and motorbike issue is also sorted.

Tow truck drivers and taxi drivers are no longer the main transgressors as drivers of private vehicles are becoming just as reckless on our roads.

The traffic department needs to revamp itself and not allow the union to dictate how it operates. Stop the officers taking their official vehicles home, stop them doing shopping with these vehicles, conveying family up and down and have all the resources made available for the reason they are there.

If this cannot be done then outsource this to a company that is willing to put their employees through traffic school and enforce our traffic law on a well-set- out service level agreement.

Financially this would benefit the holding company and our municipality, which has until now lost millions through inept management of the traffic department.

Mike V, Kamma Park


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