MAGISTRATE Dlamini Matla, has warned taxi drivers against violating traffic laws with impunity, saying it could lead to the toughening of existing legislation governing road traffic offences.
Mr Matla made the remarks after convicting and sentencing 10 taxi drivers charged with violating provisions of the Road Traffic Act by picking and dropping passengers in undesignated areas in Maseru.
Nine of them, mostly “four-plus-one” taxi drivers, were ordered to pay a fine of M500 each or spend six months in prison.
Their sentences were suspended on condition they did not commit similar offences in the next three months.
The tenth taxi driver, Thabang Lekaka, was ordered to pay M1000 or spend a year behind bars.
Half of his sentence was also suspended on condition he did not commit a similar office within three months.
However, Mr Matla warned the convicted drivers against making court appearances part of their normal duties and continuing to commit traffic offences. He said if traffic offences continued to increase, as is currently the case, the government would be forced to amend the law.
“It might appear to be a useless exercise to impose these lenient sentences on road traffic offenders, but it might not be the case in future,” Mr Matla said.
“These convictions help in compiling the statistics of road traffic offences so that the legislature may consider other means to solve the problem, including amending the law.
“We are still using the 1981 legislation which you can see has now become irrelevant to the current times.
“People commit traffic offences knowing fully well they will just be fined M500 and go.”
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