Does the law stipulate at which side of the road traffic cops may pull you over?

Question:

What does the South African law say about traffic cops pulling motorists off the road on the RIGHT hand side? If, for example, there is a 4 lane highway with a grass section in the middle, are they allowed to pull motorists over, crossing lanes of traffic, and stop them for whatever real or perceived “crime”. I have seen it happening in Gauteng, KZN and Limpopo. It is absolutely not permitted in the UK. It certainly should NOT be allowed here (horrifically dangerous), but is it actually legal here? Thanks

Answer:

The law doesn’t say anything about where a traffic officer may or may not pull anyone over other than that he or she may do so on a public road. I disagree that it is “absolutely not permitted in the UK” or anywhere else in the world for that matter. If that were so, then delinquent drivers would merely have to ensure that they drive in the outer lane so as to avoid being pulled over for speeding, for example.

I do not disagree that it is dangerous to run across multiple lanes of traffic in order to stop a motorist who has committed a traffic offence, however, one needs to ask what else could/should be done? Should those who break traffic laws simply be allowed to continue doing so, thereby endangering motorists who do obey traffic laws? Should we have high speed chases al la Hollywood style action movies? Or should we have traffic cops simply sitting in the bushes and on the medians taking photographs of passing speedsters, thereby allowing them to continue speeding as is currently the case in jurisdictions like Johannesburg?

Purely from a road safety perspective, I for one would way prefer for speedsters to be pulled over immediately, thereby stopping them from speeding and endangering others, and if they happen to be in the outer lane of a freeway – which is actually the most logical place for them to be – and can be pulled over onto the grass median safely, then I’m all for it. It would be sensible however for such exercises to involve traffic police on both sides of the single direction of freeway, so as to avoid the need to run across lanes. But one thing is for sure – physical policing beats covert fine revenue generation any day.

Best Regards,

Howard Dembovsky
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)

One thought on “Does the law stipulate at which side of the road traffic cops may pull you over?

  • May 23, 2012 at 8:56 am
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    i agree 100%. pull the speedsters over, rather than possibly endangering others lives.

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