To whom this may concern, I would like some clarity on a matter. A while ago, there was an announcement that road users may treat red traffic lights as stop streets after 22h30. I did not research at the time whether this was ever promulgated into law but I assumed (now to my disadvantage) that this was accepted road safety law. I do recall that this came about as a result of increasing crime at night like hijacking, attempted break-ins, and traffic light theft where stationary vehicles were targeted.
Last week Friday (6/2/15), my partner and I were travelling back from a movie in Sandton at around 1am. On the presumption that this was accepted now in practice, he treated the red traffic light of corner Sandton Drive and Grayston Drive as a stop street. As he continued driving, an SAPS vehicle (not a JMPD vehicle/official) stopped him and fined him R500 for “jumping a red traffic light”. I tried to tell the Constable that this is a mistake because of the practice / rule / law that red traffic lights could be treated as stop streets after 22h30.
He denied that this was a rule and said to me that no such rule exists. Not longer than 5 minutes after we drove away after being fined, we stopped at the Sandton Drive – William Nicol Road traffic light and next to us, a JMPD vehicle (the official was on his cellular phone at the time) stopped for a short period and then drove after he saw the adjacent road was clear. The JMPD official therefore treated the traffic light as a stop street! Please would you let me know whether you are aware of the existence of this accepted practice / rule / law so that we can fight this? I would appreciate your urgent response so that I know how to treat this fine. I have tried doing research now on the web and I have hit a dead-end. Thank you and kind regards
In short, traffic signals must be obeyed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and 365 days a year.
The National Road Traffic Act makes no provision for disobeying traffic signals “after hours” and although people like JMPD spokesperson, Edna Mamonyane have made reckless statements on radio to the contrary, unfortunately, this is not backed up by law. This said, you may make a representation and/or defend any matter you have been accused of and some judicial officers may have sympathy over the specific circumstances under which the offence was committed.
National Chairman – Justice Project South Africa (NPC)