W­hat to do w­hen stop­ped at a ro­ad­block

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Auto Dealer -

Being pul­led o­ver can be qui­te in­ti­mi­da­ting, but it doe­sn’t ha­ve to be that way. Ro­ad­blocks are an in­e­vi­ta­ble part of being a mo­to­rist. Ho­we­ver, ma­ny South A­fri­can mo­to­ris­ts are fe­ar­ful of being pul­led o­ver - e­ven though t­hey ha­ven’t bro­ken the law. K­no­wing your rig­hts and re­spon­si­bi­li­ties du­ring a ro­ad­block or rou­ti­ne check can help you to stay calm and act ap­pro­pri­a­te­ly.

Su­zu­ki shares so­me tips on how to re­spond and w­hat not to do.

T­hings to re­mem­ber du­ring a ro­ad­block:

An of­fi­cer in u­ni­form has the rig­ht to stop any vehi­cle;

De­man­ding to know why an of­fi­cer has pul­led you o­ver will on­ly end bad­ly. We re­pe­at that any of­fi­cer in u­ni­form can stop and se­arch any car on the ro­ad;

You do ha­ve the rig­ht to ta­ke do­wn the of­fi­cer’s de­tails if you feel that your rig­hts ha­ve been vi­o­la­ted;

You may not re­fu­se a bre­at­ha­ly­ser or b­lood test - dri­ving un­der the in­flu­en­ce of al­co­hol or d­rugs is il­le­gal in South A­fri­ca.

“A traf­fic of­fi­cer, ap­poin­ted as a pe­a­ce of­fi­cer in terms of the C­ri­mi­nal Pro­ce­du­re Act, 1977 has the sa­me po­wers as a po­li­ce of­fi­cer. He may the­re­fo­re re­quest a doc­tor or re­gis­te­red nur­se to draw b­lood,” says Ar­ri­ve A­li­ve, a na­ti­o­nal ro­ad sa­fe­ty cam­paign run by the South A­fri­can po­li­ce and traf­fic of­fi­ci­als.

The le­gal b­lood­al­co­hol li­mit is 0,05g/100ml but the le­gal bre­ath-al­co­hol li­mit is 0,24mg/ 1 000ml of bre­ath. Du­ring cli­ni­cal tri­als, all par­ti­ci­pants (re­gard­less of gen­der) ex­cee­ded the li­mit af­ter two beers. So­me pe­op­le can e­ven ex­ceed the li­mit af­ter a sin­gle drink, de­pen­ding on the drink and bo­dy ty­pe. With this in mind, it is ne­ver worth it to get be­hind the w­heel of your car af­ter e­ven one drink. A sin­gle drink will still af­fect your re­acti­on ti­me and dri­ving a­bi­li­ty. If you’re plan­ning a nig­ht out, it’s much sa­fer to ar­ran­ge a de­sig­na­ted so­ber dri­ver, or ta­ke a taxi.

How to pre­sent your fi­re­arm:

If you ha­ve a fi­re­arm in your vehi­cle, you need to en­s­u­re that you pre­sent it in a non­con­fron­ta­ti­o­nal, pe­a­ce­ful man­ner. He­re are so­me tips to help you hand­le the si­tu­a­ti­on calm­ly:

Ma­ke su­re that you ha­ve your fi­re­arm li­cen­ce and com­pe­ten­cy cer­ti­fi­ca­te with you at all ti­mes;

You will need to ver­bal­ly con­firm your ID num­ber and if you can re­mem­ber it, your gun’s se­ri­al num­ber;

You will need to tell the of­fi­cer ex­act­ly w­he­re you keep the gun in the car;

If the of­fi­cer re­que­sts to see the fi­re­arm, al­low them to o­pen and in­spect your car;

If you car­ry the gun on your per­son, ask for per­mis­si­on to re­ach for it;

Ans­wer all que­s­ti­ons calm­ly;

Do not point the gun at a­nyo­ne, or ma­ke any jer­ky or er­ra­tic mo­vements. Do e­ver­y­thing slo­w­ly, with con­fi­den­ce and sho­wing re­spect;

Do not, un­der any ci­r­cum­stan­ces, dis­char­ge the we­a­pon.

If your car is un­ro­ad­worthy:

If your car is dee­med un­ro­ad­worthy, of­fi­cers can pre­vent you from dri­ving any furt­her and im­pound the vehi­cle. A vehi­cle is dee­med un­ro­ad­worthy if it’s a dan­ger to the dri­ver and ot­her mo­to­ris­ts on the ro­ad. Com­mon pro­blems that will cau­se your car to be de­cla­red un­ro­ad­worthy in­clu­de:

Any lig­hts that are da­ma­ged or not ful­ly functi­o­nal;

Faul­ty s­teer­ing me­cha­nism, windscreen wipers or in­di­ca­tors;

Worn, bald or da­ma­ged ty­res (tre­ad that is 1,6mm or less);

De­fecti­ve bra­kes;

Le­a­king oil;

Mis­sing re­flec­tor lig­hts;

Il­le­gal vehi­cle mo­di­fi­ca­ti­ons.

Be­ha­vi­our to­wards an of­fi­cer:

Al­ways be po­li­te and re­spect­ful. Don’t an­ta­go­ni­se an of­fi­cer by being ru­de, cheeky or non-com­pli­ant. Don’t dis­play any phy­si­cal signs of vi­o­len­ce (li­ke pus­hing the of­fi­cer). You can’t be ar­res­ted for being just plain ru­de, but ru­de­ness can quick­ly es­ca­la­te in­to an ar­gu­ment or ver­bal a­bu­se.

S­we­a­ring, of­fen­si­ve hand ge­stu­res and ra­ci­al slurs are all con­si­de­red ver­bal a­bu­se which could le­ad to ar­rest. An of­fi­cer must pro­vi­de you with their bad­ge and vehi­cle num­ber upon re­quest. If you feel in­ti­mi­da­ted, or are wor­ried that your rig­hts are being vi­o­la­ted, you need to ta­ke do­wn the of­fi­cer’s bad­ge num­ber and vehi­cle re­gis­tra­ti­on.

No mat­ter w­hat an of­fi­cer says, you are within your rig­ht to film any in­te­racti­on with a South A­fri­can po­li­ce of­fi­cer as e­vi­den­ce. You may not be for­ced to de­le­te the fi­le. Un­der the SAPS S­tan­ding Or­der 156, an of­fi­cer may not stop you from ta­king a pho­to­graph or vi­de­oing them and may not sei­ze, da­ma­ge or de­le­te the foota­ge.

How not to be­ha­ve:

“If you in­ten­ti­o­nal­ly and un­la­w­ful­ly vi­o­la­te the dig­ni­ty of an of­fi­cer, you could be ta­ken in­to cus­to­dy. For ex­am­ple, any ra­ci­al slurs, ha­te speech or acti­ons that pre­vent the of­fi­cer from doing their job could land you in hot wa­ter,” said ad­vo­ca­te Jackie Nag­te­gaal in an in­ter­view with W­heels24. The worst thing you can do w­hen you’ve been pul­led o­ver, is to an­ta­go­ni­se the of­fi­cers.

W­hen can a mo­to­rist be ar­res­ted?

If you ha­ve out­stan­ding traf­fic fi­nes, you can be is­su­ed with a war­rant of ar­rest. In such a ca­se, of­fi­cers at a ro­ad­block can and ha­ve to ar­rest you. Ho­we­ver, you’re en­tit­led to ask to see a copy of the war­rant of ar­rest. You can not be de­tai­ned w­hi­le t­hey go and fe­tch one - this is an un­la­w­ful ar­rest. T­hey will need to ha­ve the war­rant with them at the ti­me of the ar­rest. Do not re­sist ar­rest. Pe­a­ce of­fi­cers li­ke the me­tro po­li­ce are al­lo­wed to for­ce­ful­ly ef­fect an ar­rest if you do not coope­ra­te.

Ar­ri­ve A­li­ve pro­vi­des mo­re in­for­ma­ti­on on their web­si­te www.ar­ri­vea­li­ve.co.za.

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