Traffic fines. Law and order. Bribery and corruption. Therese words conjure up immediate associations, depending on who you are, where you reside and which countries you drive through.
Perhaps in South African we have a good balance: not enough traffic cops to create a nanny state but enough to do a fairly decent job on major routes and towns, barring the corrupt officials of course. Speaking of which, Zimbabwe has become increasingly notorious for its corrupt traffic cops, who try and extort cash at every possible opportunity. So much so, that on our last 7000km drive though seven countries to raise money for charity, we skipped the country altogether, after one too many negative experiences.
On the other side of the Atlantic, in North America, it appears as if the roads are very well policed. Perhaps too much so if we consider the fine that a Canadian man received for singing in his car – according to the police the fine was for ‘screaming’ ( does this mean that toddlers or teenage sibling in cars or get fined too?)
We’ll have to put this one down to ‘when traffic cops have nothing better to do…’
This is what happened, according to CTV News, Montreal.
Taoufik Moalla was driving to a shop, in Montreal Canada, to buy some water and was signing along to the 90s song Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C+C Music Factory. While he was singing, he heard a police siren coming from behind him.
Moalla thought that the vehicle wanted to pass him, but then the cops loud speaker summoned him to pull over. Four officers reportedly approached Moalla’s vehicle and asked him if he had screamed. He told police he was simply singing and they went off to check his license and registration.
They came back with the ticket for screaming in his car, and a $149 (R 1 613) fine for disturbing the peace.
“I don’t know if my voice was very bad and that’s why I got the ticket,” he said in in an interview with CTV News Montreal. “But I was very shocked. I understand if they are doing their job, they are allowed to check if everything’s okay, if I kidnapped someone or if there’s danger inside but I would never expect they would give me a ticket for that.”
To his credit, he remained calm and intends to contest the fine.
According to the article, Taoufik Moalla’s wife said that she was unsurprised by the fine and told Moalla that if it was for singing, she would have given him a ticket for $300 (over R4 000).