By Paul Kirk
KWAZULU-NATAL – Tough new laws are coming in to tame motorists, but they may also bar speedcops from hiding in the bushes to trap motorists.
In January the new Road Traffic Offences Act will come into effect in the Pretoria area as a pilot project.
It will later spread to the rest of the country.
Under the new Act motorists will be presumed guilty, and if they don’t pay the fine the traffic authorities will be allowed to seize their goods to pay for the fines outstanding
But with this change in the law the Automobile Association and many senior members of the Department of Transport want traffic police to change the way they work.
One senior official from the DoT who asked not to be named said: “Hiding speed traps behind bushes doesn’t slow down motorists and it doesn’t improve safety one bit.
“If the trap is openly visible it does slow down motorists.”
Gary Ronald, spokesman for the AA said it was all for painting speed cameras day-glow colours.
He continued: “Cameras need to be positioned where there are high accident rates. At the moment many cameras are sited in spots that are calculated to generate the most fines – not make the roads safer.”
The new Act will allow for motorists to have points taken off their driver’s licence, and if they lose enough points they will have their licence suspended.
Ronald said this could result in cops demanding huge bribes from people who stood to lose their licence.
“That is a real possibility. But we believe the benefits of this Act will far outweigh the negatives. ”
* John Schnell, Road Traffic commander in KwaZulu-Natal warned he had no plans to paint his speed cameras bright colours.