Most of us are living a connected lifestyle, meaning that we are constantly on our mobile phones – whether it’s texting, Instagramming or scrolling through Facebook, the need to be constantly ‘connected’ has spilled over into personal and business spheres and dangerously so, into other areas – like driving.
Even celebrities and global stars have been caught in the act – just last year Liverpool player Mohamed Salah was filmed texting behind the wheel and according to the UK law, Salah is now facing losing six points on his driver’s licence as well as a fine. Fortunately, this shows that no one is exempt from the law and harsh penalties are enforced to curb this dangerous behaviour.
But what exactly does the law in South Africa say about using a phone while driving? And could your insurance decline your claim if you were to have an accident while using your mobile device?
The law is quite clear: motorists may not drive on a public road while holding a mobile phone or any other communication device in one or both hands or with any other part of the body. Drivers may, however, use these devices through the car’s system such as Bluetooth or through headsets designed specifically for such a purpose.
Despite this, there are still many South Africans who chance using their phones while driving and this remains one of the major contributing factors to road accidents with 75% of people who took their eyes off the road being involved in accidents. It’s that decision to just send a quick text while stopped at a traffic light that can change your life in seconds.
A motorist can reportedly be fined up to R750 for using a mobile phone while driving. However, in the Western Cape, there is also a bylaw which was first introduced in 2012, that allows road officials to confiscate a motorist’s phone for 24 hours if they are caught driving while using their phone (talking or texting). Traffic officials are also allowed to place an additional R500 fine on the driver and charge a ‘release fee’ of over R1000 for the return of the phone.
Another serious consequence is that your insurance claim may be refused, especially if you are involved in an accident and it is subsequently found that you were using your mobile phone at the time of the accident. This could even apply in situations where the other driver was at fault.
The safest is not to be tempted to use your mobile phone whilst driving and stay focused on the road if you are using it via Bluetooth. #Drive Safe, #ItCanWait