SA's red-light skippers: 'Reckless and dangerous'

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 RED-LIGHT JUMPING IS ILLEGAL: It is illegal to skip a red traffic in South, but what if your life is in danger? Should you take the risk? Image: Fin24/ Duncan Alfreds ~ Finance24

CAPE TOWN - Earlier in August, Wheels24 published a video which showed a taxi skipping two red traffic lights in as many minutes.

The clip sparked a flurry of responses from our readers. A News24 polled asked readers: "Do you skip red traffic lights?"*

MORE THAN 9000 SAID YES

The poll garnered more than 20 000 votes to date, with 9145 admitting they skip red traffic lights but only at night. More than 8500 said they never skipped a red light, deeming it too dangerous.

READ: Red-light jumpers: Readers share their stories

Wheels24 spoke to Western Cape emergency services spokesperson, Robert Daniels, to shed light on the dangers of skipping red lights.

Daniels said incidents that emergency services responded to involving road users skipping red lights were usually because "drivers were under the influence of alcohol".

Watch: Most red-light skippers are under the influence of alcohol - EMS

IS THERE EVER A GOOD REASON TO SKIP A RED LIGHT?

Daniels said: "80 to 90% of the time it is alcohol-related, it is people just being careless and reckless on our roads. People not thinking of the next person."

Daniel said that while it's against the law to skip a red light he understands that, given the violence on SA's roads, in certain situations it's appropriate to avoid putting yourself in danger.

When asked if there is an appropriate time to skip a red light, Daniels said: "In the course of the day, during normal traffic and normal circumstances - then no.

"There is of course the situation where you life might be in danger. If you see someone approaching your vehicle, by all means go.

"If you feel unsafe and your life is in danger, I can't tell you to stop at the red light. It boils down to common sense and if you see you are going to endanger others with your action...don't.

He said: "But if you are going to avoid dangerous situation by skipping a red light, I'm not going to tell you don't."

Watch: The reason why taxis 'disregard the law'

'There's a complete disregard for safety and the value of human life inside a taxi,' says Western Cape emergency services spokesperson Robert Daniels. Click on the link above to watch the video.

*Please remember that it is against South African traffic law to skip a red light in ANY situation.