By on July 6, 2012

They do that in South Africa.  Use your phone for texting or gabbing, and police in Cape Town will arrest your cell.

Police in unmarked “ghost squad” cars seized 16 phones from motorists who flaunted a new regulation in Cape Town, South Africa, Reuters says.  The new rule allows police to confiscate handsets for 24 hours if the law is broken. Harsher sentences await the distracted driver: Driving While Phoning it in can cost up to 500 rand ($61.50) and/or a jail term of up to three years. They don’t call it cell phone for nothing.


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11 Comments on “Don’t Give LaHood Ideas: They’ll Take Your Phone Away...”

  • avatar

    Cell phone drivers weave down the streets like drunken cabbies and when you inform them that they almost killed you and your loved ones they stare at you with dead fish eyes. F*ck ’em.

    • 0 avatar

      Right. Being courteous to fellow drivers and pulling over or ignoring the call for a few minutes is not onerous, and if you think it is, it’s time to rethink your priorities in life.

  • avatar

    Sounds like a perfectly good idea to me. Perhaps they should also publish a “cell phone offenders registry”?

  • avatar

    They also need to double the confiscation time each time you get caught. If you get caught with another phone during the duration of a confiscation it needs to be upped to a loss of license for the duration.

    I would support this legislation!

  • avatar

    In a given year, South Africa has more murders than the United States, even though it has less than 1/6th of the population. (And the US isn’t exactly known for having a low murder rate itself.) Violent crime is pervasive by western standards. It’s good to see here that they have their law enforcement priorities straight.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s distraction activity. It’s common in organizations faced with insurmountable problems: they’ll ignore the larger problem and concentrate on minor ones instead.

      Solving epidemic levels of violent crime is hard; taking cellphones at road checks is easy.

      • 0 avatar

        James Q Wilson’s Broken Windows theory suggest that it helps to take care of the little stuff. It worked in NYC, but that may have been a result of higher expectations of and by the police generally.

        I didn’t see a mention of physical road checks, just of spotting people yakking. A hands free set fixes that according to the law. It wasn’t that long ago (2007, IIRC) there was an entry at TTAC about the deaths of 5 Fairport, NY teenagers with the strong suspicion that the driver was texting at the time of the crash. I’d like to do as I damn please, but it doesn’t seem to work wrt cell phones.

        Years ago, Kim du Toit blogged about his decision to leave SA. Newspaper day 1 headline – headless bodies found by river. Day 2 headline, heads found by river. Day 3 headline, heads don’t match bodies.

  • avatar

    Err… I think you meant “flouted,” not “flaunted.”

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more of a push to enforce cellphone driving bans via technology.

    I can easily see a future FCC rule that requires phones have a built-in mechanism (GPS, accelerometers, reference signals from cell towers, etc.) to detect when in motion beyond walking speed and go into “safety mode”. No outbound calls except to 911, no texting, all inbound calls go immediately to voicemail and so forth.

    Critics will point that this would also affect automobile passengers and people riding on buses and trains. Whether or not that’s a bad thing is obviously open to debate…

  • avatar

    As long as the laws apply equally to public employees, including law enforcement officers, I’m fine with regulations on the use of electronic devices while driving.

    • 0 avatar

      It’ll never happen, at least not with emergency personnel, and even if it did, they’d do it anyway and cite some sort of necessary purpose, same as the cops who refuse to wait for traffic lights.

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