Blue Lights abuse must come to an end

Robin Carlisle MPP

Minister of Transportation and Public Works

On Friday the 21st of June 2013, the draft regulations for the restriction of the use of blue lights and sirens (Draft Regulations on Restrictions on the Use of Lamps Emitting a Blue Light and Use of Sirens), were published in the Provincial Government Gazette and open for public comment for a period of 30 days thereafter. During this time, members of the public are encouraged to submit written representations or objections on the proposed regulations.

Section 2 of the draft regulation states that, “a person may not operate or instruct any other person to operate –

a)    A motor vehicle in which an office bearer or VIP is being transported; or

b)    A motor vehicle escorting or accompanying a motor vehicle referred to in (a), on a public road while –

(i)     An intermittently flashing blue light is being emitted from a lamp fitted to that motor vehicle; or

(ii)   A siren fitted to that motor vehicle is being used,

unless there is an imminent identified threat regarding the safety or life of the office bearer or VIP, or there is a threat of damage to the property of the office bearer or VIP.

“This regulation is in line with the National Road Traffic Act, enabling office bearers and VIPs to make use of vehicles fitted with blue lights and sirens. We have seen the abuse of blue light brigades by said office bearers and VIPs in the past, tantamount to a disregard for the rule of law and a threat to the safety of other road users. As per the draft regulations, office bearers and VIPs may not make use of blue lights or sirens on their vehicles or vehicles escorting them, unless the situation is one that constitutes a case of emergency,” said Minister Carlisle.

“Failure to comply with this regulation would result in the office bearer or VIP being subject to a fine or imprisonment. We cannot continue to have the safety of other road users threatened unnecessarily by the use of blue lights and sirens in non-emergency situations,” added Carlisle.

Interested parties are invited to make their submissions on the regulation within 30 days of publication:

(a)  by post to:

The Head of the Department

Attention: c/o Mr ML Watters

Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works

PO Box 2603

Cape Town

8000

(b) by email to: malcolm.watters@westerncape.gov.za or

(c) by fax to: 021 483 2166

Any inquiries in connection with the Provincial Notice should be directed to Mr ML Watters at 021 483 2419. The regulation will also be available on www.westerncape.gov.za/transport/pubs/regulations .

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