Getting pulled over can be stressful, and not just because you forgot about last month’s speeding fine.
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 month, 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, there are online sites where you can check for outstanding fines. Digital-first insurer, dotsure.co.za, is leading the way with an added benefit to their motor insurance clients called Fines Protect.
This benefit is included in your policy and ensures that you avoid court summons for fines by alerting you to new fines and facilitating payment. They can even negotiate for reductions on your behalf and check whether the issued fine is valid.
Their Licence Protect benefit reminds you of your licence disc expiration date, renewal is facilitated, and your new disc will be delivered 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 to them 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 loved ones 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 used by 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 an online car insurance quote in 5 minutes from dotsure.co.za, SA’s #1 ranked* insurer on HelloPeter.com?
Scan this code for an obligation free quote or visit dotsure.co.za today.
*T&Cs apply and are subject to submission of a valid claim. Risk profile and policy dependent.
**As rated on Hellopeter.com
Dotsure Limited (Registration number 2006/000723/06) is an authorised financial services provider (FSP39925).