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Roadblocks: Know your rights

By Faeza
19 April 2016

There are two different types of roadblock

Informal roadblocks are set up at random, often on major roadways or at the end of an off-ramp, while the K78, a provincially or nationally-approved roadblock, is an official roadblock where police officers can legally search vehicles and even conduct full body searches if required.

When approaching a roadblock, follow the police officers’ instructions or signals

Pull over and present your driver’s licence or ID book if requested. Be respectful when addressing or responding to the officers on duty – while the block may be inconvenient for you, it’s their job to ask these questions in order to ensure the safety of you and other road users.

You have the right to verify the authenticity of the roadblock

You are entitled to ask the police officer to see the written authorisation certificate signed by the National or Provincial Police Commissioner.

You can only be arrested in certain instances

For example, if you resist a breathalyser test, or if your blood alcohol level is found to be over the legal limit of 0,05g per 100ml, the police have the right to detain you and have your blood tested. The police may also arrest you at a roadblock for unpaid fines, but only if a warrant has been issued against you for those fines and the officers can present you with a valid copy of the document.

If your vehicle is deemed not roadworthy, you may be stopped from driving it any further

Officers can legally prevent you from continuing to use your car if it is not roadworthy, simply because the vehicle is a risk to you and other road users. In some cases, motorists will be allowed to drive the car to their destination if it is a short distance.

Bearing these tips in mind will help you to make your way through a roadblock safely and efficiently. Make sure you and your family get to your destination safely by following the rules of the road and complying with police and traffic officers at all time.