Incentivise traffic policing: pay the fines to the traffic officers

10 March 2013

There are many things in South Africa that can be used as reasons to emigrate – and mindless, wilful ignorance of road rules is right up there near the top of the list.  South African roadusers are clearly just too stupid to realise how they are contributing to societal decay in this country.  On the other side of the coin, traffic policing is constrained by too few officers, poor salaries and so on.  We need lots of very competent, dedicated officers who are visible and mobile.  Here’s a way to do it.

Don’t pay traffic officers a salary – at least not at the beginning.  Rather reimburse them on a commission basis with a high percentage of any moving violation fines that they bring in.  Who cares if an officer becomes wealthy because he nails hundreds of dimwits running stop-signs and red lights…  This would encourage officers to be more obvious and maybe even work after five o’ clock (!) Traffic department funding, even after commissions, should skyrocket and provide more vehicles and equipment.

The obvious counter-argument is going to be “where will the money come from once this process takes effect and less offenders are caught?”  Well, given how bad things on our roads are now I don’t think that will be anytime soon but, yes, a long-term strategy will need to be in place.  One option is to progressively ramp  up the fines for serious violations (the stop signs, robots, overtaking in the safety shoulder, exceeding the speed limit in residential areas) to seriously high levels.  If roadusers don’t have the collective moral spine to drive properly, then the penalties must be extremely onerous.

Oh, well, this is all wishful thinking.  Our government has not shown that it can do anything effectively except collect taxes – but if their inability to create a safe and harmonious environment causes many more of the 1.5 million taxpayers – who are funding pretty much everything in this country for the other 48.5 million – to leave, then even the Revenue Office is going to be cerebrally challenged – and once the bills cannot be paid…



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