Dashboard camera footage nails motorists

Dashboard camera footage nails motorists. Picture: File

Dashboard camera footage nails motorists. Picture: File

Published Feb 28, 2024


Drivecam footage on the dashboard of a gas manufacturing company’s vehicle has contributed to one of its drivers being fired after he skipped a red robot and nearly caused an accident.

The man was not fired for skipping the robot but rather, for not telling the truth about the incident.

Air Products South Africa turned to the Johannesburg Labour Court after the National Bargaining Council for the Chemical Industry (NBCCI) ordered it to reinstate the fired worker. The company asked the court to set aside the order.

The company manufactures, supplies and distributes various gas products and has its own transport service.

The respondent, who was fired, was involved in a near-miss accident at a four-way intersection controlled by robots. A DriveCam on the vehicle had recorded the driver and the road in front of him.

The company contended that the respondent had provided versions of had what happened which did not correspond with the DriveCam footage. The respondent was subsequently charged with fraud, dishonesty and attempts to misrepresent facts, and was dismissed.

Dissatisfied with the dismissal, he referred an unfair dismissal dispute to the NBCCI, which ruled in his favour.

The driver said a motorist had skipped the red traffic light and driven in front of him, which had almost resulted in him colliding with the other vehicle.

He said the robot had been about to change to red, but as he had been near the robot, he had not stopped. He said another car had approached while he was in the middle of the intersection and he had to brake to avoid an accident.

Experts who analysed the DriveCam footage, however, found that the robot had been red when he had decided to drive through the intersection.

He was subsequently charged with not being truthful about the incident.

On arbitration, the commissioner found his dismissal to be unfair and questioned why the respondent had been charged with fraud and dishonesty and not simply for driving through a red robot.

Acting Judge T Venter, however, said the commissioner had been wrong in her reasoning. The judge said the respondent had presented a version that directed the fault of the “near-miss” incident to a third-party driver.

The DriveCam and expert evidence reflected that he had driven through the red robot and had started braking only once in the intersection. The expert witness had testified that the DriveCam evidence confirmed that the third-party vehicle had entered the intersection only once the robot had turned red for the respondent.

“This is what the company was complaining of, and rightfully so. When a driver of a large truck carrying such cargo finds it necessary not only to be untruthful in what transpired following what was almost a severe accident but also to persist with that version, it amounts to deceptive and dishonest behaviour,” Judge Venter said.

The court found that the company’s dismissal of its driver was substantively and procedurally fair.

Pretoria News