Can You Be Arrested For Warning Cars About Roadblocks?

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We all hate being held up at roadblocks, the hassle of being in a rush to get somewhere and then end up at least an hour late due to traffic.

Have you ever done "the flash" for another car to warn them about an upcoming roadblock? We all like to think we are doing our good deed for our fellow South African BUT there can be some serious consequences if a traffic official catches you doing that...

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Caught Warning Another Car:

Even though it has not been sanctioned for people to be arrested for warning against roadblocks, you can still be charged and very possibly fined a large amount for this offence!

Warnings have been sent out numerous times since 2010 with the spectacle around the infamous Pig Spotter debacle on Twitter. The Justice Project South Africa was formed in its wake, speaking out strongly against motorists warning others about police activity on the roads.On the other hand, not much has been said in terms of technology on the market that does just that. Items like Garmin and TomTom even UBER apps warn motorists of upcoming speeding cameras and also alert you if any have been moved.

It's quite a toss-up if this should be an issue or not. On one hand, motorists in the area become very accustomed to the cameras around them. In most cases, motorists tend to just simply slow down on that stretch and then drive at the speed they feel like after. On the other, if they don’t want technology warning drivers, should they have permanent fixtures?

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The Law Behind Warnings

It's hard for law officials to control motorists warning others about upcoming traffic blocks by flickering their headlights at oncoming cars but if there is a traffic official watching they have the right to pull you over and fine you.

“The crime of defeating or obstructing the course of justice consists of unlawfully and intentionally engaging in conduct, which defeats or obstructs the course or administration of justice.”

This can be seen as a broad spectrum that covers the acts of warning about roadblocks as well as flashing your lights. Yet, equally on the other hand;

“If a motorist warns other motorists of the presence of a speed trap by flashing his lights, he interferes with the due administration of justice. According to the decision in Naidoo [1777 2 SA 123 (N)], he commits an attempt to defeat the course of justice. However, in S v Perera [1978 3 SA 523 (T)] in which the facts were materially the same, it was held that the person committing the act will only be guilty if he has reason to believe that the vehicle approaching him is exceeding the speed limit. Or, that the driver of this vehicle has the intention of exceeding the speed limit. In as far as these two decisions are irreconcilable it is submitted that the latter should be followed. This type of conduct is in effect nothing more than a warning to others to obey the law.

So now you need to decide is it worth the hefty fine you could get from traffic police to warn the stranger behind you or let them possibly get stopped/ get a fine. What would you do now that you know you can get fined? Let us know in the comment box below.

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