Wheels24

Black eye for blue-light cowboy

2012-06-27 08:56

Cape Town - A driver given a R1000 "fine" for not moving out the way of a "ghost squad" car has been vindicated by the Parow Municipal Court.

Magistrate Phakama Madinda found on Tuesday that the officer who issued the fine had abused his power and driver Steven Taylor, 29, was acquitted, the Cape Times reported.

'INCONSIDERATE DRIVING'

In July 2011 Taylor was driving towards the city at 120km/h in the outer lane of the N1 when the driver of an unmarked "ghost" car flashed his headlights to indicate he must give way.

When he failed to move the car's blue lights were activated on the ghost squad car and he was pulled over and fined for "inconsiderate driving".

Taylor told the newspaper he was relieved by the court's decision.

"This clearly sends out a good message that if people are given a fine that they don't agree with they should challenge it. By law, the speed limit is 120km/h and no law can overrule that," he said.

The city introduced the "plain clothes" cars in 2009 to tackle traffic offences.

Comments
  • James - 2012-06-27 09:23

    Good that the blue light driver didn't get away with fining him, but unfortunately Steven just perpetuated the idiotic opinion that if you do 120 km/h in the right-hand lane you are not obligated to move out of the way for faster moving traffic behind you. You are Steven. The right hand lane is for overtaking. If you're not overtaking anyone, move over.

      gregory.wellsclifton - 2012-06-27 09:51

      James you are quite right - What the law says:\r\n\r\nRegulation 323(5) and (6) of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2000 apply to this particular matter insofar as they say:\r\n\r\n“(5) Where the driver of a motor vehicle which is being driven in the right-hand traffic lane or in the traffic lane furthest to the right on a freeway (hereinafter referred to as the first vehicle) becomes aware that the driver of another motor vehicle (hereinafter referred to as the second vehicle) intends to overtake the first vehicle, the driver of the first vehicle shall steer that vehicle to a lane to the left of the one in which he or she is driving, without endangering himself or herself or other traffic or property on the freeway, and shall not accelerate the speed of his or her vehicle until the second vehicle has passed.\r\n\r\n(6) For the purposes of subregulation (5) the driver of the second vehicle may make the driver of the first vehicle aware that he or she intends to overtake the first vehicle by giving the driver thereof a visible signal by means of flashing the headlights of his or her vehicle.”

      jurgen.eksteen - 2012-06-27 10:15

      You are not supposed to go FASTER than 120km/h. So the if you are in the fast lane ... there is not supposed to be faster traffic unless it is an emergency vehicle with flashing red or blue lights. If you want to pass someone already driving 120km/h you are BREAKING the law!!

      James - 2012-06-27 10:35

      @ Jurgen - Every car's speedometer has a different margin of error. Look at the following hypothetical situation: Your speedometer is showing 120 km/h and you are self-righteously hogging the overtaking lane (Not called the fast lane) all while you're probably only really doing 115 km/h. I come behind you doing 135 km/h on my speedometer, but 129 km/h in real terms which is a perfectly legal speed, but you refuse to give way as you should. Who's breaking the law now? You are. Worst is after sitting behind you for 10 minutes, I pass you on the left out of frustration, thereby breaking the law and putting other road users at risk. All because you thought you were doing the maximum speed permissible and ordained yourself as the enforcer thereof.

      ben.bezuidenhout3 - 2012-06-27 10:39

      @jurgen, you are miss in formed (stupid). The true speed of every vehicle is not the same. So your perseption of 120km/h is wrong. And in any case, the first rule of the road is (wait for it) keep LEFT!!!!!!

      Phoenix - 2012-06-27 11:47

      It has nothing to do with someone speeding. The law very clearly does NOT include any comment on the speed of the approaching vehicle. if you are driving at 120 in the rhlane and someone approaches at 125 or 200 and flash their lights you have to move.

      chris.barton.1690 - 2012-06-27 14:00

      BS – bar Jurgen, you guys above have it all wrong. The key question here is whether failing to give way for an unmarked cop car constitutes “inconsiderate driving” or not. Even traffic cops have to obey the law by driving to the posted speed limit except when carrying out his or her duties. In this particular instance it is clear the traffic cop should have activated his blue lights first rather than flashing his lights. It is as clear as mud that the traffic officer abused his powers by issuing a fine for “inconsiderate driving”. End of story.

      Jono - 2012-06-28 09:02

      this is what is wrong with our train of thought and this country...you guys see 120 speed limit and u assume you allowed to do 129 and that is legal as some clown stated above! If the law states 120, you can’t just assume u are allowed to do more than what your speedometer says? Unless you have gone for a physical test to see by how many your clock differs by real speed you should stick to your speedometer. Im all for speed and the auto baan but the law is the law. You cant just bend it and do what you want. When some guy hits a kid at the school because he was doing 65 in a 60 zone I guarantee you there will be major drama because he was speeding and he might even be sent to jail because of that even if it wasn’t his fault. Speed limit is the speed limit. Cant bend it to make it suit you. If you late and you need to speed to get there on time then you need to get ready earlier and leave on time or arrange your s#it better!

  • ian.flack.37 - 2012-06-27 09:25

    good for you mate......about time we started to stand up to these idiots

      Ralph - 2012-06-27 09:44

      see regulation 323(5)and(6) of the National Road Regulations 2000.

      ian.flack.37 - 2012-06-27 14:49

      @Ralph....I understand and appreciate the regulation stated. However, If I am not mistaken a Police Officer cannot arrest or fine an individual if he himself was breaking the law at the time.

  • Ralph - 2012-06-27 09:41

    Regulation 323(5) and (6) of the National Road Traffic Regulations 2000 apply to this particular matter insofar as they say: “(5) Where the driver of a motor vehicle which is being driven in the right-hand traffic lane or in the traffic lane furthest to the right on a freeway (hereinafter referred to as the first vehicle) becomes aware that the driver of another motor vehicle (hereinafter referred to as the second vehicle) intends to overtake the first vehicle, the driver of the first vehicle shall steer that vehicle to a lane to the left of the one in which he or she is driving, without endangering himself or herself or other traffic or property on the freeway, and shall not accelerate the speed of his or her vehicle until the second vehicle has passed. (6) For the purposes of subregulation (5) the driver of the second vehicle may make the driver of the first vehicle aware that he or she intends to overtake the first vehicle by giving the driver thereof a visible signal by means of flashing the headlights of his or her vehicle.”

      winston.mullany - 2012-06-27 09:49

      But doesn't give the second driver the right to exceed the speed limit under conditions that the first driver was already driving at 120km/h But this was an abuse of power and at the same time he should have moved to the slower lane regardless.

      James - 2012-06-27 09:50

      Thanks Ralph, in black & white for the fools to read.

      arthur.hugh - 2012-06-27 10:35

      So there are contradictory rules - if someone is doing 120 in the fast lane and someone comes behind them going faster (breaking the speed limit law) then the first car must pull over (to abide by the law even though the 2nd vehicle is breaking the law by exceeding the limit. I guess it's the same as selling cars that do 300km/h when laws all over the world restrict vehicles to around 120km/h except for the autobaan in Germany - kinda doff.

      jason.dutoit - 2012-06-27 10:50

      the person driving faster than 120km/h is breaking the law. but the person not moving out of the fast lane to allow the first to pass is ALSO breaking the law. just because someone else is breaking the law does not give permission for another to do so.

      Phoenix - 2012-06-27 11:49

      Exactly Droplet!!!!

      raath - 2012-06-27 12:06

      The person doing 120km/h shouldn't play police-police and not move for faster cars, even if going over 120km/h is breaking the law. You are in the way, you are not enforcing the law. Just get out of the way because you are endangering yourself and others. It costs nothing. The other driver will have to bear the consequences of speeding, not you. Besides, doing 120km/h in Cape Town - they must have been the only 2 cars on that highway over 110km/h :p

      ian.flack.37 - 2012-06-27 14:48

      Ralph, I understand and appreciate the regulation stated. However, If I am not mistaken a Police Officer cannot arrest or fine an individual if he himself was breaking the law at the time.

      raath - 2012-06-27 16:16

      He was obstructing the officer - clearly an offence, and no more evidence required for that. The latter part, where the officer is presumably breaking the law - there was no evidence to that effect, i.e. no photo/video evidence recording the speed. He may have been speeding, but it won't stand up in court - there is no proof.

  • bart.mitchell.393 - 2012-06-27 09:41

    Keep left pass right I thought was the rule Steven.Abuse of power though is not excusable

  • louwc - 2012-06-27 10:00

    Glad the 'Ghost" did not get his way. Equally wrong though is self appointed law enforcers like Steven here. Move over when its safe and et the speeding car go! Its possibly driven by a maniac, yes, but could also equally be a medical emergency. If the later, you could be responsible for someone not getting medical attention in time to save a life. If it is a maniac, you increase chances that the driver will act even more irresponsible like overtaking on the left which increases chances of an accident that you might then just be part off.

      raath - 2012-06-27 12:08

      I agree completely! I've heard of people being spiteful like that and prevented emergency medical care from getting to a scene on time, with dire consequences.

  • kozikan - 2012-06-27 10:03

    Steven you are very fortunate.. rules of the road are KEEP LEFT PASS RIGHT, its NOT a fast lane its an overtaking lane.... i do disagree with their antics though... i was fined for moving into the yellow lane less than 100m before my turnoff because that was the only way i was going to be able to take the van buuren offramp. R500... was i supposed to just keep driving and take the next one some 6km away???

      raath - 2012-06-27 12:10

      If there are roadworks or obstructions on the off-ramp they need to be lenient and apply common sense. But if there was nothing preventing you from taking the off-ramp normally, then it is your fault for not planning properly, and rightfully, you should take the next off-ramp.

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-06-27 10:05

    Sounds like aggressive talk from aggressive drivers here. If the 1st vehicle is already doing 120km/h, and the 2nd vehicle insists on overtaking, then the 2nd vehicle is also breaking the Law in that he will then be over the speed limit. So from the 'idiots' side of the debate I would loudly ask: WHAT SPECIAL AUTHORITY DO YOU HAVE,(and that I don't have), TO BREAK THE SPEED LIMIT?

      Maximus Odinidus - 2012-06-27 10:30

      To me it seems that there is a tone of arrogance and entitlement going around. The law clearly states that one is obliged to move to the left if a vehicle wishes to overtake. This is law! It does not matter what speed you're driving at. This is to make provision for emergencies. I was in a situation where i had an emergency and the person I was trying to get to died. 10111 was offline which made it even more urgent. The people who wouldn't move out of the way even while i flashed lights and had emergency lights and people with your frame of mind are partly responsible for her death.

      Maximus Odinidus - 2012-06-27 10:32

      Maybe you will change your mind only when you are faced with a similar emergency. I hope you don't but it seems that it is the only way people learn these days.

      raath - 2012-06-27 12:12

      And nothing gives you special authority from blocking someone's way - even if you feel that you are super-citizen and not breaking the law. That is vigilantism. Let the police to the policing.

  • Carl.Wasmuth - 2012-06-27 10:19

    The law states what rules apply to overtaking. But seriously guys. If you are feeling threatened and are driving at the apropriate speed. The no one can make you move over.The same applies to emergency vehicles. You move out of the way for ambulances, firetrucks and traffic and police vehicles going to accidents.But what right does it give politicians to drive like they own the road. Why are there cars not subject to the same speed laws enforeced apon us.

      Maximus Odinidus - 2012-06-27 10:44

      (The law states.... But....) are you a lawyer or a judge? Did you draft a new law? If you don't obey laws that govern road usage then you're a glorified taxi driver. Just take a drive in tableview and see how many people obey the road rules. 1%!!!!

  • Lindani King Nkosi - 2012-06-27 10:54

    What NONSENCE is this... These blue light hooligans can flash lights as if they're in a rush and still able to have personal agendas with tax-payers and fine them...?? all this in the rush!! pathetic!

  • shanleigh.sewsanker - 2012-06-27 11:07

    KEEP LEFT PASS RIGHT... enough said

  • lynn.c.wood.9 - 2012-06-27 12:17

    Based on the facts reported the second vehicle was driving at the same speed as the first vehicle 120 Km/hr therefore the second vehicle was not breaking the law. The first was breaking the law for reasons described by several contributors. Frankly I believe so few people drive in the left lane that we could save a fortune in road building by only building outside lanes!!

  • Maximus Odinidus - 2012-06-27 12:25

    I would like to point out though that ghost squad members are traffic officials in unmarked vehicles. Not political blue light hooligans. Please be aware of this fact before you land yourself in hot water.

      kevin.grinaker - 2012-07-01 01:46

      At last someone with some savvy here, Max. No one on this site has even understood the whole affair. Each and every one of us here complain about the speed cops hiding behind bushes, the multitude of speed cameras and the lack of mobile traffic officers who would deal with the hundreds of moving traffic law violations that take place every day. The Western Cape have now deployed moving traffic law enforcement officers and put them into unmarked vehicles in order to police those that break every other traffic law, except SPEEDING, while on the move. So Mr Taylor is breaking a traffic law (323 (5) & (6)) and so the Traffic Cop in the unmarked (Ghost) car moves up behind the Traffic Law offender, IN HIS UNMARKED CAR (Element of Surprise) does exactly what the law states one must do by flashing his headlights to indicate he wishes to overtake and waits to see if his "victim" follows the traffic law. The Victim (Mr Taylor) falls into the set trap and does exactly what every other inconsiderate driver here who supports Mr Taylor would do and breaks this traffic law. So like, for any other broken law, the Traffic Officer now puts on his vehicle's blue light to pull the offender over to issue him/her/it with a ticket and this Traffic Officer is now a rogue? The next time this Traffic Officer witnesses a Taxi overtaking another vehicle on a solid white line or blind rise, he is now not going to do a bloody thing about it because of this idiot Judge and his ruling here.

  • bruce.anderson.31149 - 2012-06-27 13:11

    There seems to be a lot of unnecessary confusion in the comments. What the law in simple terms is saying, is keep left at all times and pass right. For those who don't look in your mirrors when you are in the fast lane stop being selfish and inconsiderate. Mirrors and indicators are not fitted to vehicles as ornaments but driving aids.

  • ian.flack.37 - 2012-06-27 18:25

    Let me look at this again......."keep left, pass right" quite correct, staying in the fast lane without good reason, unacceptable. Was the gentleman obstructing a police officer in his duties, possibly not as the police officer had time to stop and fine the driver so was obviously not going anywhere in a hurry, if he was why did he not have his blue lights on? The driver said he was driving at 120, regardless the police officer must have been faster, possibly over the speed limit. The point was made that the police office abused his powers and in this case, by the balance of probabilities, this is probably true. My point was that the "blue light brigade" need to also be a bit more considerate. Why didn't he just stop the guy and give him a warning?

  • carolyn.p.ferreira - 2012-06-27 19:12

    One of the main rules of driving is keep left pass right even if you are doing 120km/h if somebody wants to pass he must do it on the right even if that person is breaking the law it is their prerogative if they break the law if they are caught they have to pay so it is common courtesy to move over and let them pass it would make driving so much less stress-full for everyone !!!

  • Bazzpete - 2012-06-28 07:49

    Something from left field - how can they police those inconsiderate idiots who sometimes do 80kmh in the "second" overtaking lane in a 4 lane freeway or even middle lane in a 3 lane freeway when there are no vehicles in the slow lane? Man that is frustrating and causes huge backups?

      Blackmista White Whitemista Black - 2012-07-03 05:58

      they will now all spread along the motorway sidebyside at 80km p/hr, ambulances, law enforcement will all suffer..people will end up using real violence to remove them off the roads

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