Every month, news stories and warnings about police corruption or criminals posing as police officers are released, so it’s no wonder that when South Africans are pulled over, last month’s speeding fines are the least of their worries.
Unfortunately, it’s a grim reality that South African women are in a vulnerable position in our society so, in honour of Human Rights Day this March, we’ve put together a guide to help women know their rights in a roadblock.
South African roadblocks
There are two types of roadblocks – informal and approved roadblocks.
Informal roadblocks happen on highway offramps and major roads to check for drunk driving, speeding, and outstanding fines. At these roadblocks, a police officer may not search your vehicle or person unless there is cause for suspicion.
At an approved roadblock, officers may search people and vehicles, but a male officer cannot search a woman. You are within your right to wait inside your car for a female officer, even if it means they have to call in another squad car.
Do you have to pay fines on the spot?
While you can’t be made to pay a traffic fine or a fine for an expired licence disc at a roadblock, if a summons with a court date was served on you and this remained unsettled, you can be arrested.
In this instance, the arrest isn’t in connection with the traffic fine, but to bring you to the appropriate court. You have the right to see the warrant, but you can be detained until the officer is able to produce the warrant.
Luckily, dotsure.co.za offers a Fines Protect benefit to all our motor insurance clients. When you sign up, this benefit is automatically added to your policy and ensures that you avoid court summons for fines by alerting you to new fines and facilitating payment, and we even negotiate for reductions on your behalf and check whether the issued fine is valid.
Our Licence Protect benefit will remind you of your licence disc expiration date, facilitate renewal, and deliver your new disc to you – ensuring you’re never caught in a roadblock with an expired disc.
Do you have to stop for a police officer?
If you’re pulled over by an individual police officer, you do not have to stop if you feel unsafe. However, this doesn’t mean you can simply drive away – rather, the police must follow you to a place of safety.
- Slow down, turn on your hazards, and extend your arm out of your window to indicate to the police.
- Drive under 40kmph to the nearest police station or public area with CCTV cameras.
- Once you’re in a place of safety, explain that you were afraid and are being cooperative. Whatever their reaction, do not raise your voice, argue, or fight with them.
Filming a police officer
In South Africa, it’s not illegal to film a police officer unless filming is impeding their duty. Use your discretion on whether to film – while collecting evidence in a situation where you feel unsafe is advisable, it can also escalate the situation.
Always let your family know where you are
Filming a police officer may not always be possible or in your best interest, but there is another way to alert your loved ones if you’re in an unsafe situation.
Many of us have tracking devices fitted to our vehicles, and some of these devices have optional panic buttons.
Others, like the telematics technology we use at dotsure.co.za, allows you to set up safe zones and, should you move out of these zones, your nominated contact will receive an alert. This can be set up for each trip you make to ensure your loved ones can confirm you’ve arrived safely at your destination.
Women already have so many things to juggle and worry about – insurance shouldn’t be one of them. With leading-edge technology and super cool benefits, why not get a free online car insurance quote in 5 minutes from dotsure.co.za?