Authorities promise to set up roadblocks across the province where drivers would be screened for alcohol and the roadworthiness of long-distance taxis would be checked. File picture: Willem Law / Independent Media.
Authorities promise to set up roadblocks across the province where drivers would be screened for alcohol and the roadworthiness of long-distance taxis would be checked. File picture: Willem Law / Independent Media.

Arresting unlicensed drivers unlawful - DA

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Dec 24, 2015

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Johannesburg – The DA on Thursday said it was unlawful for police to arrest motorists for traffic offences such as driving without a licence or not wearing a seatbelt.

Manny de Freitas MP and DA Shadow Minister of Transport said: “The RTMC (Road Traffic Management Corporation) has threatened motorists and road users with arrests for transgressions that legislation does not allow arrest”.

De Freitas said such actions were “bully-boy tactics” to cover up for failing to properly plan for preventing this festive season’s road deaths.

“Traffic officials, who have very limited powers of arrest, and cannot arrest persons without a warrant, have been invited to create a new set of problems where civil claims may well be lodged against traffic authorities for unlawful arrest,” said the DA shadow minsiter of transport.

De Freitas said instead of having a properly co-ordinated road safety campaign, the RTMC was threatening the public with arrest when they are simply not in a legal position to do so.

The DA said it will identify any wrongful or unlawful arrests and will hold Transport Minister Dipou Peters accountable in Parliament for actions that are taken outside of the law durng the festive season.

Reports indicate that more than 700 people have lost their lives in road crashes since the beginning of December.

Earlier on Thursday the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) reported that a head-on collision claimed 12 lives on the Vryburg-Ganyesa road in the North West.

The SANCO report came just days after acting national police chief Johannes Phahlane said police were out in full force “this festive season in a bid to clamp down on alcohol abuse, characteristic with the festivities”.

But the DA warned against the “overreaching of the arm of the law”, saying that AARTO Regulations, which determine fines and criminal penalties for road infringements, prescribed that only certain infringements were criminal and could therefore result in arrest.

The DA said traffic offences that can lead to arrest include:

* Operating a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect

* Occupying the driver’s seat while the engine is running and while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect

* Operating a vehicle recklessly

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 100+ km/h which is in excess of the general speed limit of 60 km/h which is applicable to that urban road

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 160+ km/h which is in excess of the general speed limit of 120 km/h which is applicable to a freeway

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 140+ km/h which is in excess of the general speed limit of 100 km/h which is applicable to that rural road

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 140+ km/h which is in excess of the speed limit of 100 km/h as was indicated in the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 160+ km/h which is in excess of the speed limit of 120 km/h as was indicated in the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 80+ km/h which is in excess of the speed limit of 40 km/h as was indicated in the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 100+ km/h which is in excess of the speed limit of 60 km/h as was indicated in the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign

* Operating a vehicle at a speed of 120+ km/h which is in excess of the speed limit of 80 km/h as was indicated in the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign.

“Any other infringement for which a traffic official arrests a motorist under the directive of the RTMC must be considered overreaching of the arm of the law, and an acknowledgement of failure by the RTMC,” said De Freitas, adding that the DA “wishes every South African safe travels this festive season, and urges extreme caution on our roads”.

African News Agency

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