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To: South Australian Police Minister, the Honourable Michael O'Brien.
Allow country drivers to drive to a town at night for police stop.
Dear minister, recently I was required to pull over on a dark, empty country road between towns for a breath check despite driving well, at the speed limit and knowing I had zero alcohol.
I was genuinely afraid for mine and my passengers well being as the car was not a regular police car. After recent cases, I think my fears were not unreasonable. I decided to drive on to the next town only a few more kilometres further on and for my impudence I received a physical punishing that has left me with loss of feeling in the right hand, sprained shoulders, sore neck with limited movement, a back that hurts and clicks and a badly grazed cheek. I know I am exhibiting many symptoms of post traumatic stress too.
Was this necessary?
This helps the reputation of the police by...?
Now I'm wasting public money, resources and time by having to attend court, doctors, physio, psychologist for trauma counselling and I'm unable to do many normal day to day house and garden chores. If I was working I'd have to have time off. It took five weeks before I was able to go about normal tasks. My fire season preparation was weeks behind schedule and I was lucky the wind dropped as the fire headed toward our town on that horrid Wednesday, Pinery fire.
I'm 62 have no prior violence, drink drive, drug records, own no guns, and the police officers overreacted leaving me and my passenger traumatised and myself on medication.
I'm sure many other country dwellers and visitors have similar backgrounds to me and it seems only reasonable that a driver not showing signs of inebriation or reckless driving should allowed to go somewhere safer and lit up, with cameras if possible.
The officer told me in all his years of service, he's never heard of drivers posing as police. Firstly, does that mean it won't ever happen and, anyway, there have been impersonators. Secondly, I can buy police strobe lights for less than $30 from ebay. Does the fact that one of the many sellers has sold over 100 mean that all those buyers are NOT going to use them for underhand purposes? Can anyone guarantee that? If I was given an on the spot fine and paid it, would I know the officer wasn't real? Would you? My arresting officers, despite the legislation stating clearly they have to give surname, rank and serial number when asked, only gave me their first names.
Minister, please make it clear that we are not obliged to stop after dark on an empty road. Change this regulation that allows random stops on dark lonely roads and remove the fear and uncertainty of being pulled over.
Why is this important?
This is important to me as I am now afraid to drive at night for fear of being attacked by an unknown highway robber or worse and know next time I must pull over no matter how unfounded my fears are.