- Driver gets fine, points penalty, though in different city
- Vehicle cloning thought to be ‘on rise again’
- Telematics proves car plates were cloned
LONDON, England – A report from Britain, Carman’s Corner believes, has again highlighted the precariousness in South Africa of prosecutions for speed-trapping and toll-billing that rely purely on vehicle registration number numbers.
It could be that, with more publicity, ALL prosecutions in South Africa based on camera-trapping could be deemed illegal if sufficient cases are successfully challenged. Which could be a good thing: South Africa needs more traffic staff on patrol rather than merely cameras hanging from bridges and light poles.
South African law is based on the principal of innocent until PROVEN guilty – that covers traffic offences, too. So, in The Corner’s view, if the prosecution cannot PROVE that the car allegedly speeding was in fact yours then that prosecution should fail.
After all, any damn fool can swop plates.
A report on TV’s Carte Blanche reported that an estimated 20% of vehicles on Gauteng’s roads bear cloned plates – illegally made by a professional plate-maker and fitted to another car of the same brand, model and colour.
What brought this to the fore again was the following report from the UK…
A driver escaped a R2300 fine and licence penalty-points because an anti-motor fraud specialist, Asset Protection Unit, used the rental car’s telematics to prove it was nowhere near the place where the speeding offence was recorded.
REAL CAR WAS 200km FROM ‘SCENE OF OFFENCE’
Not everybody, of course, has the time, cash, or determination to fight a speeding (or other) traffic offence, preferring instead to pay up – even if not guilty.
Here’s what happened in England…
The driver, from London, was camera-accused of speeding in the city of Lincoln in November 2015 even though the vehicle THOUGHT to be involved, a BMW 2 Series (a rental car with a tracking device) was in London at the time – more than 200km away.
So the real offender was using a cloned nmber-plate.
The driver, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I knew I hadn’t been to Lincoln. APU swung into action…”
APU’s Neil Thomas whose company exposed the fraud in a media release, said “It’s very satisfying to help innocent drivers but the real worry here is that it’s almost certain the vehicle in question was cloned. We’ve seen a number of similar cases so cloning could be on the rise again.
LEGAL DRIVERS PAY MILLIONS FOR CRIMINALS
“It’s usually linked to large-scale organised crime and it’s hard to stamp out because the cloned vehicle is registered to the innocent owner’s address so the crooks have to be caught out on the road.
“Even in relatively law-abiding Britain, it is believed that thousands of vehicles are cloned each year and cost legitimate drivers the equivalent of millions of rands in fines while criminals escape prosecution.”
So, The Corner believes as cloning spreads in South Africa an appeal court could rule that camera traps and posted/e-mailed notices of prosecution are no longer valid. This would make the entire basis of traffic police operation illegal – and it will cost millions of rands to find an alternative system.
Giving the idiots who feel it is their right to drive beyond the speed-limit the legal ability to do so. Unless they are stopped by a car carrying a blue lights and unbribable traffic cops.
Traffic authorities, are you listening?