Roadblocks in SA -Know your rights

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 Roadblocks Know your rights

As inconvenient as they may seem, roadblocks exist to ensure the safety and well-being of all road users, especially during peak traffic hours, holiday periods and over weekends.

Knowing your rights as a road user as well as the best approach to dealing with the situation is critical in SA.

Read more Here.

WATCH: How NOT to behave during a roadblock:

1. Know what police can and cannot arrest you for

You can only be arrested in certain instances. For example, if you resist a breathalyser test, the police have the right to detain you and have your blood tested or if your blood alcohol level is found to be over the legal limit of 0.05g per 100ml.

Police can also arrest you at a roadblock for unpaid fines but only if a warrant has been issued against you for those specific fines and the officers can present you with a valid copy of the document.

2. If your car is unroadworthy you can be stopped from driving it further

If your vehicle is deemed unroadworthy, you may be stopped from driving it any further. Officers can legally prevent you from continuing to use your car if it is not roadworthy, simply because the vehicle is a risk to you and other road users. In some cases, motorists will be allowed to drive the car to their destination if it is a short distance.

Road blocks - When a motorist can be arrested Image by Arrive Alive

3. Gather as much evidence as you can

If you believe traffic officers are violating your rights or abusing their authority, gather as much evidence as you can. You have the right to know and write down both the officer’s badge number and the vehicle number (found on the side of their patrol car/bakkie). Phone 10111 to report the incident and make sure you identify the officer(s). Throughout the process remain calm and act lawfully to protect yourself.

4. Uniformed officers have the right to stop any vehicle

An officer in uniform has the right to stop any motorist. Reasons may vary from routine checks, a traffic offence or to investigate possible stolen vehicles or suspicious drivers.

You have the right to verify the authenticity of the officer by requesting that they identify themselves (i.e badge number).

Roadblocks - what to do if the Traffic officer/ Police breaks the law Image by Arrive Alive

5. You have the right to film the police in SA

Filming events at roadblocks is not illegal and this is a great way of gathering information in the case of officers acting unlawfully.

SAPS Standing Order 156:

   • An officer cannot stop you from taking a photo or video.

   • An officer cannot seize/damage your equipment. An officer cannot force you to delete footage.

6. You can be arrested for verbally abusing an officer 

Arrive Alive: “You cannot be arrested for being rude. If however, your rudeness escalates to verbally abusing an officer, you will be committing a crime in the form of criminen injuria – the intentional and unlawful infringement of the dignity of the officer. You could be arrested. An example would be the use of obscene and/or racially offensive language or gestures. If you obstruct the officer from performing his or her duties it will be considered criminal.”

Yambu Legal Protection  can assist when you get stuck in these situations

Roadblocks - Some of the rights of a Traffic Officer Image by Arrive Alive

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