Editorial: Metro traffic rules must be enforced

Don’t shout and swear at the taxi drivers if one cuts in front of your car because many of us are just as guilty of bending, if not breaking, the traffic rules in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Yesterday’s front page report on a Port Elizabeth taxi driver facing more than R41 500 in fines, along with 20 warrants of arrest, for traffic violations shows our municipality is tackling this issue. We learnt earlier this week that the city is owed about R402-million in outstanding traffic fines and warrants of arrest .

John Best, the municipality’s political head of safety and security, says only one in four drivers actually pays up or bothers to go to challenge the fines in court.

That is a shockingly arrogant disregard for the law. Too many drivers seem to think traffic rules apply to other drivers but not to them. However, let’s be honest, there are few motorists out there who have never received a letter in red ink from the traffic department even if only for a parking ticket.

Now the authorities are clamping down on infringements such as holding a phone while driving (not even necessarily using it), not stopping at a stop sign and squeezing through a red traffic light.

They will be sending out “ghost” patrol cars, you will not be able to re-licence your vehicle if you have an outstanding warrant of arrest, and there will be more road blocks.

These efforts will help to instill confidence that serious offences also will be policed more effectively.

Traffic bylaws are there for a very good reason and that reason is not primarily to make money for the municipality – although it certainly needs an extra R402-million.

The bylaws are there to keep us safe and that is sorely needed. Speed kills, but so too do other less obvious traffic violations.

Just take, for example, the death of a mother of two on Stanford Road this week on a stretch of road that is becoming a death trap. In this light, Monday’s arrest sends out a strong message to all those who flout traffic regulations.

Too many of us have been getting away with murder on the roads for far too long.

Leave a Reply