Did you know that not even members of the police are above the law when it comes to using a cellular phone while driving?
There has been quite a bit of discussion on this topic and we would like to share the feedback received from South Africans Against Drunk Driving [SADD]
SADD provided info from the Police legal department:
1. Regulation 308A: This Regulation provides that no person shall drive a vehicle on a public road while holding a cellular or mobile telephone or any other communication device in one or both hands or with any other part of the body.
2. There is no exemption for police members.
3. The issue of the use of cell phones whilst driving by police members was canvassed some years ago, and a statutory exemption was placed in the Regulations, exempting policeman from the prohibition from using cell phones whilst driving.
4. However, due to abuse, this Regulation was repealed, with the effect that members of the S A Police Service are now in exactly the same situation as any other member of the public relating to the use of cell phones while driving. The motivation for withdrawing the exemption was that police members are equipped with other communication devices, namely the police radio, which was sufficient for purposes of communication.
5. There have also in these instances been some situations where police members have raised a defense of necessity, relating to them using a cell phone whilst driving. The defense of necessity as raised by police members is on exactly the same principle as any other as any other member of the public would raise it. In other words, where it may be necessary for a member of the public in an emergency situation to use a cell phone, then in the same circumstances so would a member of the Police be able to use such cell phone.
6. This would include situations where police members are communicating on a one on one basis with each other about an emergency, or where they are calling for additional security forces or force multipliers from other organizations, which cannot be contacted immediately on the radio network.
In summary therefore, police members in general should wear seat belts, and should not use cells phones whilst driving. In the right circumstances however, although there is no statutory exemption, the Director of Public Prosecutions would not generally prosecute them, in situations of necessity.”