For a very long time Nelson Mandela Bay motorists were on a jolly good wicket when it came to the rules of the road.
Paying a traffic fine, it seemed, was every bit as optional as coming to a complete halt at a four-way stop.
But at last this is about to change: The Herald reported yesterday that more than 36 000 road users with outstanding warrants of arrest will be blocked from renewing their driver’s licences from April 2.
As part of its revenue-collection efforts, the municipality will implement the Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System (eNatis) block-A programme, which blocks road users with outstanding fines from accessing the city’s traffic services.
It is no secret that traffic policing was practically invisible in this city for a good number of years.
Road users who received fines would frequently not pay up and there would be few, if any, repercussions.
It is true that no one likes to receive a ticket, much less fork out hard-earned cash for one, perhaps then why no one made too much of a fuss.
As a result lawlessness on our roads became the norm, and the situation was viewed as just another symptom of a dreadfully mismanaged and effectively useless traffic department.
The appointment of a director for traffic and licensing was long overdue, and already the metro is seeing more successful prosecutions as a result.
It is also determined to collect a staggering R28-million in outstanding fines.
Fines are a perfectly legitimate source of income for any municipality.
Bay road users must accept that, when they receive a fine, it means they have almost certainly broken the law and for that they must suffer the consequences – unless of course they can provide evidence to the contrary.
If you have an outstanding warrant it is your duty to pay the fine or fines immediately or make arrangements with the municipality to pay it off.
The time has come to re-establish a culture of obeying the rules of the road.
We owe it to ourselves, fellow motorists and, most of all, to anyone who has lost a loved one as a result of a traffic incident.