Who’s at Fault? Dash Cam Video Sparks Controversy

by Sydney Criminal Lawyers
Police involved in a car accident

A video published on the website of Dash Cam Owners Australia has sparked heated debate on social media pages, with some arguing that the police officer was at fault by plunging forward into another car, while others are adamant that the driver could and should have given way to the police vehicle.

The dash cam footage, taken by a motorist in North Albury, shows an almost-stationary police car with its lights flashing and siren activated running a red light and hitting the rear passenger side of a red sedan.

One of the women inside the car within which the dash cam is located screams, gasps and says, “he hit him… why did the copper do that? He’s seen him there. But he was in the wrong that cop. He’s seen that guy and he only had to wait”. She then shouts “you were in the wrong” as she passes the police car that has pulled over to the side of the road.

But not everyone agrees. The video has attracted over 400,000 views, and has over 3,000 reactions, over 1,500 shares and nearly 2,000 comment threads on Facebook, with many expressing support for the police.

“ummm how can the cop be in the wrong ladies? Lights a sirens going…. he has right of way… better hand your licence in if you think that he was in the wrong. The dickhead in the red car stopped to give way to him and then continued on”, said one person.

“Hahahah how is the cop in the wrong sirens on and the red car has seen that and stopped so cop goes to go through and the red car drives into the cops hope they get a massive fine”, said another.

So, what does the law say?

Road Rules

Section 79 of the Road Rules 2014 is titled ‘giving way to police and emergency vehicles’, and states:

(1)  A driver must give way to a police or emergency vehicle that is displaying a flashing blue or red light (whether or not it is also displaying other lights) or sounding an alarm.

Maximum penalty: 20 penalty units.

For this rule, give way means:

(a)  if the driver is stopped—remain stationary until it is safe to proceed, or

(b)  in any other case—slow down and, if necessary, stop to avoid a collision,

(2)  This rule applies to the driver despite any other rule of these Rules that would otherwise require the driver of a police or emergency vehicle to give way to the driver.

Twenty penalty points is currently $2,200 in NSW.

In relation to the police officer running a red light, regulation 305 of the Road Rules is headed ‘exemption for drivers of police vehicles’ and says:

(1) A provision of these Rules does not apply to the driver of a police vehicle if:

(a) in the circumstances:

(i) the driver is taking reasonable care, and

(ii) it is reasonable that the provision should not apply, and

(b) if the vehicle is a motor vehicle that is moving-the vehicle is displaying a blue or red flashing light or sounding an alarm.

(2) Subrule (1) (b) does not apply to the driver if, in the circumstances, it is reasonable:

(a) not to display the light or sound the alarm, or

(b) for the vehicle not to be fitted or equipped with a blue or red flashing light or an alarm.

So what’s your verdict?

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