Question:

“I would like to ask what options do I have in instance where I receive a speeding fine in situation where I was faced with an emergency that resulted in me committing the offence?

I have recieved a notice saying that my fine will be decided in court ,how can I proceed in explaining to the court that indeed I was rushing to an emergency at home where my child suffering from asthma was having difficulties breathing

Your urgent reply will be highly appreciated in this regard”

Answer:

If you had extraordinary reasons for breaking the speed limit, many public prosecutors would be sympathetic to them and may reduce the fine amount payable provided that proof of the incident can be provided.

However, I need to point out that strictly, the law makes no provision for ordinary road users to break traffic laws, even if there is an emergency.  This is due to the fact that ordinary vehicles do not have emergency warning devices like flashing lights and sirens, both of which have to be used if an emergency vehicle is breaking the speed limit or disregarding traffic signs.

If one thinks of things logically, which I know is easier said than done when presented with a medical emergency; driving an a way that one would not normally drive increases the risk of a crash occurring and would therefore have the opposite effect to getting to the emergency or getting the victim to medical attention quickly.  The first thing that should go through a person’s mind when presented with such an emergency should be to call for professional medical assistance, not to try and tackle the problem oneself.  Often, paramedics can get to the scene far quicker and more safely than you can and once there, can dispense the appropriate treatment.

This may be something to bear in mind for the future.

 

Best Regards,

Howard Dembovsky

National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)

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