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What is the current fine for texting while driving?

The Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) has urged road users to avoid texting and driving, reminding motorists what the penalty is if they are caught.

The EMPD continues to see a troubling trend of drivers using their cellphones while they are behind the wheel, writes the Kempton Express Thembisan.

25% of driving accidents caused by using cellphones

EMPD media liaison officer Katlego Mphahlele has highlighted some alarming statistics. The numbers show that a quarter of all motor vehicle accidents have been linked to cellphone use behind the wheel.

“In the book, it is stipulated that no person may operate a motor vehicle with a cellphone,” Mphalele says.

“This charge for the offence is R500.”

The fine must then be settled at any magistrate’s offices, he adds.

Mphahlele offers clear steps for safe phone use on the road:

Pull over: If you need to make a call or respond to a text, find a safe place to park your car before picking up your phone.

Hands-free is key: Connect your cellphone to a hands-free mode (Bluetooth) to make calls and listen to music. Prepare your playlist before you even start your engine.

Can you save fuel by turning off the aircon?

While avoiding fines, motorists may also be looking for other ways to save their rands and cents while on the road, particularly with soaring fuel prices.

One common suggestion is to turn off the air conditioning (AC), which is seen as a fuel guzzler. Many people believe that rolling down the windows conserves more fuel compared to running the AC.

Yet, some automotive experts suggest that driving with the air conditioning ON can be more fuel-efficient. This particularly applies to speeds above 80 km/h.

The argument being that driving with the windows down creates substantial wind resistance, or ‘drag’, leading to increased fuel consumption.

The research says that driving at approximately 80 kilometres per hour with the windows down can reduce fuel efficiency by more than 20%.

It was found that air conditioning also decreases fuel efficiency at that speed, but only by around 10 percent.

Read more on that story here.

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