Monday, 21 May 2012

Drivers who remove their licence plates are criminals

While I find the campaign against drunk driving commendable, I wonder why an equally despicable crime has not been addressed. I refer to the increasing number of drivers who remove their licence plates to avoid detection by speed cameras. I wonder if people have really thought about the impact that this has on road behaviour.
For instance, when I see a drunk driver on the road I phone and report it to authorities. On many occasions I've been unable to do so as the person responsible has removed their licence plates. I have seen reckless driving, excessive speeding, road rage, illegal dumping, all committed by these people who do whatever they want. They are unidentifiable and there are no consequences to their actions. I’m sure the increase in “hit and runs” is a direct result of this. Not only is the traffic department losing out on revenue, but its worst traffic offenders continue to cause havoc on our roads.

 Before people jump to the conclusion that it is taxis that are guilty of this, I can say that I have only seen one taxi without plates, the majority of these offenders are the drivers of luxury vehicles. Demographically, they are people who would never drive or own taxis.They are also the same people who love to complain about how corrupt our government is (yes it is), and how taxis never obey the rules of the road. What did they think when Julius Malema was found driving around without licence plates? 

The ridiculous R500 fine they could possibly incur is a drop in the ocean compared to the thousands they have ‘saved” in fines.

The other aspect is that these people ‘assist’ criminals by their actions. The first thing criminals do after having committed a crime is to remove the plates from their vehicle. If it was the only vehicle doing so, it would make it that much easier to find.

JP Smith said on Cape Talk more than three years ago, that this issue was his bugbear and that he was going to do something about it. How much longer must we wait? In Kwazulu Natal, if your vehicle is found to be without plates, it is impounded, and until you can present those plates, your vehicle will not be returned to you. When I have visited there, people seemed to obey the speed limits, and all of them had licence plates.

The Traffic Department doesn’t seem concerned about this from what I’ve experienced. I have often seen Traffic Department vehicles driving behind those unidentifiable cars and ignoring them. I have spoken to Traffic officers and all of them smile and say "Ask JP Smith just how many fines have been issued for this offence." 

JP Smith and Robin Carlisle are forever going on about the new trapping methods that have been installed, but they're not catching the real perpetrators. By nature I'm quite cynical and would never have entertained the thought that maybe they don't really want to do anything about this, because the great majority of people doing this are the very people who vote for the DA. Do they want to keep them happy? I only say this because I know that they know about it, and have known about it for years. I've written to the papers, Talk Radio, all the heads of Traffic Departments and no-one is interested.

 All the police have to do is walk around a parking lot to find these vehicles. There are also thousands who have altered their licence plates by either defacing a number or breaking off part of the plate. The other problem, is that this behaviour is emulated by others, with the typical South African response of : "I'm going to do it because he's doing it". We also have the next generation, their children, seeing that it's "OK" to break the rules YOU choose to break. It's about time the authorities did something about this scourge, because the people who are breaking this traffic law are able to break all traffic laws. They will continue doing so for as long as they're allowed to.

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