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'Helpful' tweet may land you in jail

Industry news
Cape Town – If a drunk driver turns around to avoid a roadblock because you warned them about its location and they cause a fatal crash, you have aided and abetted a criminal.

This was the view of Automobile Association spokesman Layton Beard as traffic officials and police raised concerns about the unlawful trend of people sharing details about roadblocks on social media.

“The practice of warning others is concerning. There is a purpose for a roadblock, whether a driver sees a need for it or not."

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Notifying others of roadblocks could result in your paying a fine, or copping some jail time.

Beard said that drivers notifying other drivers spoke to the attitude of motorists and how far they would go to “skirt the law”.

“Roadblocks are not only to make sure a driver has a licence disc and a roadworthy vehicle, but also for a range of other things. They play an important role. I don’t think people understand they are breaking the law and they are putting the lives of other motorists, their friends and family at risk.”

Notifying others of roadblocks could result in your paying a fine, or copping some jail time.

Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said it was illegal to warn other motorists of the location of roadblocks – you could be charged with defeating the ends of justice.

“We inform the public prior to our long weekends or festive season that we will have a lot of roadblocks so drivers are aware they will need to be patient, because we will take some of your time.”

'Roadblocks are very effective'

Africa said while the penalty for warning other motorists was up to a magistrate to decide, it could be anything from a fine to time behind bars.

"Last week we had one on the R27 in Saldanha and we confiscated 10 000 mandrax tablets.

"The bulk of motorists comply,” he added.

With the festive season in full swing, provincial traffic officials are planning to set up more than 1000 roadblocks, which will include alcohol blitzes, vehicle checkpoints and fatigue management programmes.

National Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said since the start of December until yesterday 684 fatal crashes had been recorded.

Pedestrians accounted for 34.3percent of the deaths, with drivers accounting for 23.8percent. Most crashes were due to human error.

Cape Argus

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