Own Correspondent
2 minute read
11 Oct 2019
4:58 pm

How to handle drunk officer

Own Correspondent

"If you are driving and there is no one in the car to take the video for you, do not take it yourself"

South African Police Service (SAPS) female members carry out a roadblock during the Operation Basadi on August 14, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Daily Sun / Lucky Morajane)

Recently, a video of a metro policeman who appeared to be intoxicated started spreading across social media. He was accused of nearly knocking a motorcyclist over and threatening bystanders.

This begs the question: what should one do about a driver who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, especially if they are someone in a position of authority?

Managing director of MasterDrive Eugene Herbert advises: “Immediately call the police. If that person is around police officers who have not already removed the driver from the road, rather call in someone with a fresh perspective,” says Herbert.

“Do not get angry with the call centre or the new officer, it is not their fault. Simply state you saw a suspected drunk driver endangering people around them. Stress the urgency of the situation to them.

“Once you call the police, remove yourself from danger. If you are on the road still, put a healthy distance between yourself and always have an escape route should they catch up to you at a traffic light. If you are stationary, as in the video, still keep your distance. Intoxicated individuals cannot be reasoned with. They can be easily angered and this unlikely to help you achieve your aim which is to get them off the road.”

There is also the question of recording evidence. “If you are driving and there is no one in the car to take the video for you, do not take it yourself. You are already focusing on a risky driver without adding distracted driving to that. If you are stationary, discreetly take your photos and videos if you feel evidence is necessary. There is no need to threaten the intoxicated driver with it, because again, the situation will become more volatile.

“Then, while social media is effective to share what you saw, there is an official process you should follow to lodge a complaint against the officer with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate. Remember, the ultimate objective is to remove that dangerous driver, who is in a position of power, from the road”.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.