The City of Johannesburg will launch a new hotline on messaging platform WhatsApp, for the city’s residents to report reckless driving.
The hotline will be operated by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), and allows residents to report reckless and inconsiderate road behaviour.
Residents will be able to upload video footage and pictures along with other details, which will then be followed up by the JMPD. This includes dash-cam or helmet-cam footage of incidents.
“The launch of this pilot project is aimed to improve driver behaviour and to ensure road safety is enhanced for all,” City of Joburg said.
“Especially since reckless driving and driving under the influence has been at the top of the monthly transgressions.”
According to councillor and MMC for Public Safety in the City of Johannesburg, Michael Sun, the JMPD issued 199 fines to various offenders just in one day on the 26 March.
“This hotline is based on a lot of the frustration and anger experienced by Joburg motorists on a daily basis. We see a lot of reports on social media posts on reckless driving and we thought we really need to clamp down on this,” Sun said.
The hotline number is 081 410 6338, and operates 24 hours a day.
It was stressed that videos and photos shouldn’t be captured while drivers are busy driving, which is a crime itself. Instead they should stop their vehicles and pull to the side of the road to capture any footage.
“When you see reckless driving behaviour: STOP, move to the side then record or take a picture.”
“This system is for everyone not only motorists. The City will not allow motorists to break the rules of the road. The law clearly states that you are not allowed to use your cellphone while driving,” it said.
Push for new laws
The City’s initiative comes at the same time as a push from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) which wants to introduce strict new drunk driving rules in South Africa.
The RTMC has proposed to the Department of Justice that driving under the influence (DUI), speeding and reckless or negligent driving be reclassified in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act.
This would include changing DUI from a schedule 2 to a schedule 5 offence, which would place drunk driving in the same ‘category’ of crimes as rape and murder.
It also wants arrested drivers to spend at least seven days behind bars before they can be considered for bail.