KwaZulu-Natal - Wheels24 reader Rod Deventer sent us dashcam footage of a blue-light vehicle damaging his car.
In the video you can spot a Ford Ranger Bakkie (with flashing blue lights) swerving in front of Deventer's Ford Everest, braking sharply and damaging his car. Deventer says the incident occurred in September 2017 close to "Tweede at Exit 107 on the N3 national highway between the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal".
Following the shunt, the blue-light vehicle can be seen driving off.
Deventer posted the incident on YouTube and says: "Driving Westerly 2kms on the N3 from Exit 107 a blue light vehicle comes from behind, passes then brakes in front of me causing damage to my vehicle. They proceed to drive off."
Deventer's footage shows that he was travelling at a speed of 115km/h while the Ranger passed on the left and then speeds up to 121km/h at the time of the collision.
Deventer can be heard telling his wife to write down the number plate of the bakkie and proceeds to try and chase the pick-up.
Deventer also says he attempted to lay a "hit-and-run charge" but was unsuccessful at the Estcourt Police station in KwaZulu-Natal. Fortunately his Ford Everest is covered by insurance and is currently being repaired.
Wheels24 has contacted the KZN traffic department, the department of Transport and the RTMC for comment.
What are your rights on the road with regards to the 'Blue-light brigade'? We've included Justice Project SA and Arrive Alive's response after the below.
Have you encountered poor road behaviour from SA's 'blue-light brigade'? Who do you believe was most at fault in the video. Email us and we'll publish your stories.
Watch the video below:
Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck said: "What we would like to have seen was for the vehicle with the rear-looking dashcam to move to the left lane and get behind the truck and to let the vehicle with the blue lights pass.
"It is not for non-law enforcement to judge whether it is indeed an emergency or not nor whether the flashing lights are justifiable.
"BUT... There is no excuse for the reckless braking by the overtaking Blue lights vehicle. The law is quite clear - Drivers of Emergency Vehicles must always drive in such a way that priority is given to the safety of other road users!"
1. Wheels24: Can government vehicles force you off the road?
Arrive Alive: If a vehicle displays a blue light it has priority in traffic and you must move out of the way if it is safe to do so. You cannot decide which blue lights are important and which not. If you think the light was used illegally, take the number down and report it.
JPSA: No vehicle may lawfully force you off the road.
2. Wheels24: Do you have to make way for government vehicles?
JPSA: Every motorist is legally obliged to give an immediate and absolute right of way to a vehicle displaying red or blue (or a combination thereof) flashing lights and sounding its siren.
3. Wheels24: Is it the same for all provinces?
JPSA: The National Road Traffic Act and its regulations is National legislation and applies EVERYWHERE in South Africa.
4. Wheels24: What does the law say?
JPSA: Regulation 308(h) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 says “No person driving or having a vehicle on a public road shall fail to give an immediate and absolute right of way to a vehicle sounding a device or bell or displaying an identification lamp in terms of section 58(3) or 60 or Regulation 176”
5. Wheels24: What can be done to improve the use of these lights?
Arrive Alive: Controlling the use of blue lamps is the government's responsibility. The onus is not on road users to regulate and/or enforce it.
JPSA: Lots, but probably too much to contemplate in a news article. At a fundamental level however, JPSA holds that the term “emergency” must be defined in the National Road Traffic Act and drivers of vehicles displaying flashing red/blue lights and sounding sirens must only be allowed to lawfully use them in a bona fide emergency and within a strict framework of operational requirements - like for example - limiting the speed with which they may disregard a red traffic light signal.