An “uncooperative” doctor working at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital spent the weekend in jail after she was arrested for reckless and negligent driving for speeding on the N12 highway at 178km/h.
But despite her reckless behaviour, at least one expert believes the most she is likely to suffer, aside from her weekend behind bars, is a fine.
And, according to police she could have spared herself all this, if only she wasn’t so “uncooperative”
Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) spokesman Kobeli Mokheseng said the woman refused to stop when initially pulled over.
“The motorist was chased for about a kilometre and the speed enforcement team called for backup,” Mokheseng said. The vehicle was eventually cornered on the N12 freeway towards Soweto.
“The furious lady offender stopped her Mercedes in the middle of a freeway and as she alighted, she was already fuming and taking video clips using her cellphone,” said Mokhesang.
A 32-year-old doctor rushing to work in her Mercedes-Benz was arrested for speeding by the Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) on Saturday morning, 6 March 2021. Picture: Supplied.
He said the motorist was later taken to Alberton police station where a case of reckless and negligent driving was opened, after which she was detained and held in custody.
“Our work stopped after we handed over the suspect to SA Police Service. They will ensure the suspect [appears] in the magistrate’s court at an appropriate date.”
The EMPD spokesman said he was outraged at the health practitioner’s attitude towards the officers.
“She was not cooperative at all,” said Mokheseng. “Usually, the health practitioners that are on call or standby [who are] stopped by officers, their vehicles have a sticker with ‘doctor’ on it next to the car disk.
“In some cases, as a doctor, you will be given an amber or red portable dashboard light to symbolise a doctor being on call or answering an emergency.”
He further explained if officers stopped a doctor who didn’t have either and accepted fault, they would be keen to escort the health practitioner with their blue lights and sirens on.
“We understand their profession, but she never did that.
“If you are driving your private vehicle with branding, hazards or emergency lights and are travelling at a high speed, we will try and secure and protect you.
“But in this instance the doctor had none of those,” he said.
At the speed she was travelling, the doctor was covering about 49.44 metres a second, a little less than half the stipulated size of a soccer field used for international matches.
According to copradar.com, a controlled study in the USA found the average driver reaction brake time is 2.3 seconds. In that time, at the speed she was travelling, the doctor would have taken 100 metres to come to
a stop if a problem arose.
“The study included all driver types, tests were conducted on a controlled track and in a driving simulator,” copradar.com stated.
Automobile Association (AA) spokesman Layton Beard said it was unacceptable when motorists took the law into their own hands and their actions would result in fatalities.
“Driving at 178km/h [is] a considerable risk and we would be very concerned about the potential that would have created further problems while driving at that speed,” Beard said.
He said the speed the doctor was travelling at could have resulted in serious injuries.
“An observation that was made from the crash tests that have been performed in the country using vehicles that were locally available was that the tests were performed at 64km/h and this incident was triple that speed, which was almost certain that if a crash were to occur it would have led to serious life threatening injuries,” said Beard.
Howard Dembovsky, spokesman for Justice Project South Africa, said although the suspect was guaranteed a fine if convicted, a licence suspension was highly unlikely.
“If her licence were to be suspended, she would have to refrain from driving for the stipulated time. According to the national Road Traffic Act, the driving licence of a person convicted of certain offences that are contemplated in section 35 of the Act can have their licence suspended.
“The first level would be a person’s license being suspended for a minimum period of six months on first conviction, a minimum of five years on second and a minimum of 10 years on third conviction,” he said.
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