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Cellphone distraction has become one of the biggest causes of road accidents in the City leading to death of many motorists.

Sending or receiving text messages, making and receiving calls, sending and receiving audio and video messages, browsing the internet, and participating in social media conversation while driving is a serious threat to road users.

The South African National Road Traffic Act clearly states that no driver of a motor vehicle is allowed to use a hand-held device while driving and this includes cellphones, microphones and other communication devices. Transgressing these can cost guilty parties R500 when caught by traffic officers.

Thabiso Makgato from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) says, “The use of cellphones while driving has become a huge concern for the City’s law enforcement officials. We have attended to a lot of accident scenes where a motorist has knocked down a pedestrian or hit a tree because the driver did not keep his eyes on the road. We have run educational campaigns teaching motorists about the dangers of using a cellphone while driving but the statistics of drivers using cellphones continues to surge.”

Makgato advised those who want to make or respond to a call need to pull over to the side of the road or use hand-free devices to do so. Using a cellphone while driving can hinder the driver’s concentration and cause accidents that can result in fatalities.