According to StatsSA, over 50% of South Africans commute by bus
or taxi – which means that over half of the population put their lives
into the hands of bus and taxi drivers each day. Metro Police Senior, Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, shared some tips about what to do if these public transport drivers violate the rules of the road.
Sewpersad said that commuters can issue an affidavit against a public transport driver at the Metro Police headquarters on Old Fort Place. “If a person wants to take the matter further, a person can come into the office and submit an affidavit and then they will become a state witness in the prosecution of the road violation, which means the complainant will have to give evidence before a magistrate in the traffic court. The person’s affidavit must be concise and fully detailed of the offence with all the facts. People can also phone the bus company and inform them what the driver did and they can caution the driver,” said Sewpersad.
“While reporting an offence can help to address the problem, Metro Police officials conduct general road traffic enforcements to regulate drivers and those caught breaking the rules could find themselves in the dock,” said Sewpersad. “A warning to drivers who feel that they are above the law and can break the rules of the road- it will be bad luck when they are stopped. Some fines or prosecutions have no admissions of guilt and driver’s would have to go in front of a magistrate to determine the admission of guilt or sentencing,” he said.
Sewpersad added that there are many specialised units within Metro that deal with all different types of vehicles, including buses, to check that they are road worthy. “If a police official feels that any vehicle needs a deeper investigation he or she can go to any vehicle testing department and inspect the under carriage of the vehicle and use a brake test device to test the vehicle. Additionally, all drivers are asked to show the relevant documents. Buses amongst public transport vehicles are also liable for testing every year for a certificate of roadworthiness,” added Sewpersad.
Drivers are also required to report any changes in their health that might effect their driving ability. “The prescripts of the law is very clear, if one’s health changes for any particular reason, for example they go blind in one eye, the onus is upon them as a driver to inform the licensing authority, because if they fail to do so and get stopped by a Metro Police officer, they can be prosecuted and if they have an accident, they may serve time in jail,” said Sewpersad.