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Detention without trial for dozy

2012-12-11 08:10

ROBIN CARLISLE: Tired? Then we WILL stop you driving, says Western Cape transport MEC.

CAPE TOWN - Drivers travelling in or through the Western Cape could see their car keys confiscated for four hours in a high-handed move to reduce the number of accidents caused by fatigue.

Provincial transport MEC Robin Carlisle is on the warpath again...

Based purely on the subjective opinion of traffic officers, people deemed to be tired will be told to park in a safe area near the road block at which they stopped and told to sit for four hours, when their keys would be returned for their journey continue.


This measure would be implemented, Carlisle's edict says, only if there was no other - presumably wide-awake - licensed driver in the vehicle.

Carlisle said the National Road Traffic Act empowered officers to stop people from driving if they were incapable, either physically or mentally.

Carlisle made a point of apologising for an answer he gave to a Cape Town newspaper which asked if was legal to confiscate keys and force drivers to rest - effectively holding them, and possibly their family, children, elderly people, under arrest on the "opinion" of a traffic cop.

He was quoted in the newspaper on Monday as saying: "I have no idea, but I don't care either... we've no option but to pull out all the stops, illegal or legal... I just don't know what else to do than to become very rough."

Heck, why not go the whole hog and stop traffic altogether?


He said he regretted the remarks which made it seem as if he was not certain about the law but would do what he wanted anyway.

"I feel very passionate about road safety and am deeply concerned about the current carnage. However, I always operate within the law and I apologise for my comments. I am glad to now confirm that we would, indeed, be acting fully within the law.

He did not specify which law.

Carlisle said 59 people had been killed on Western Cape roads in the first nine days of December 2012, more than the same period in the past three years and spoiling his record for declining road deaths.

Tell us what YOU think about this latest road-safety move in the Readers' Comments section below.

The only "road crime" we could find in the 'AA Guide to Motor Law' possible for police to remove a driver from the road (apart from being arrested for, for instance, driving with excessive blood alcohol) is "negligent driving" - defined, simply, as a driving in a manner likely to cause harm, which driving when very tired could indeed be. We invite the usually affable Mr Carlisle to quote the relevant traffic law that empowers a driver to be detained for four hours on the whim of a traffic cop.

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