4/15/2005South Africa, UK Expand Camera Tickets to Minor Offenses
Drinking water while driving in the UK can cost $4700. Not waiting at a traffic ramp costs $80 in South Africa.
Drivers in South Africa and the UK are getting camera tickets in the mail for more than just the usual red light and speeding violations. In South Africa, a camera monitors the access ramp on the M4 to limit the number of car merging onto the highway during peak traffic periods. If the camera thinks more than one car is trying to enter at a time, a 500 Rand fine (US $80) is mailed to the owner. Motorists have complained that the camera is unfair because the light turns red so quickly that people are being ticketed even though they began moving on green.
UK officials confirm that the mobile speed cameras on the M4 freeway in Wiltshire will not just be ticketing speeders. They will use long-range cameras with up to a half-mile range to issue tickets to people drinking from a water bottle, eating an apple, talking on mobile phones, reading maps, failing to wear a seatbelt, or letting children stand on the back seats. While the fine for speeding is £60, the fine for "driving without due care and attention" is a maximum of £2500 (US $4725). In 2004, ANPR cameras issued 20,290 camera tickets for minor seat belt and cell phone violations.
"I don't know what purpose a traffic light serves on an onramp. I mean, how can it possibly control the flow of traffic, because when it's green it doesn't mean that it's safe to turn on to the freeway. You still have to go further up the on-ramp and yield to oncoming traffic before joining the M4," [said motorist Joelan Naidoo]. "Just as soon as the car stopped the light turned to green again. But before I was able to take off properly and be on my way, the light changed to red again and just as I crossed the line I noticed a bright flash in my rear view mirror."Source: New ramp robots making motorists see red (Daily News (South Africa), 4/14/2005)
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