My boss normally forces me to overspeed when we are travelling in the company official car. He does not want to respect the road speed limits or stop at traffic lights. If I get arrested by the Traffic Police for breach of the road traffic rules due to compulsion from my boss, can I raise a defence that it is my boss who forced me to disobey the road traffic rules? What if I disobey the order of the boss to over speed, can he fire me for insubordination? I am very upset with my bosses’ behaviour as it compromises both mine and his security.
We are sorry that you have such a boss who is always in a rush and ignores our laws.
It is an offence under section 51 of the Road Traffic Act [Cap.168 R.E 2002] to drive a motor vehicle in excess of the speed limit lawfully allowed in relation to an area. A driver has to obey speed limits prescribed under the law or posted in the traffic signs or road markings erected along the roads. The speed of a motor vehicle depends on the type of the vehicle, condition of the road, time of driving, weather and nature of the place. The speed of a vehicle in a built-up area should not exceed 50 kilometres per hour. Outside the built-up area the speed is regulated by the traffic road signs and road markings erected along the roads by road engineers. For vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kilograms the maximum permissible speed limit outside the built-up areas is 80 kilometres per hour.
A boss who incites or forces his driver to over speed or violate a road traffic rule commits an offence under section 51 and 111 of the Road Traffic Act. The aforementioned provisions state in express terms that a person who aids, abets, counsels, incites or procures a driver to drive in excess of the permissible speed limits or forces or incites a driver to commit any other traffic offence is also guilty of an offence. The driver and the boss who incites or forces the driver to over speed or break the road traffic rules commit the offence and both are liable to be punished.
The defence of compulsion to over speed cannot stand because such defence is applicable only where the person raising it was in a danger of being killed or sustaining grievous harm had he refused to obey the order. Moreover, legally an employee is taken to have committed insubordination if he refuses or disobeys a lawful instruction of his superior; not unlawful instructions like the instruction to break road traffic laws.
It is interesting to know that in view of section 111 of the Road Traffic Act, if a person charged with the offence of inciting or forcing a driver to over speed is convicted of that offence, the Court shall disqualify him from obtaining or holding a driving licence just like it will do for the driver. This means that the boss and the driver will not be allowed to obtain or hold a driving licence for them to be able to legally drive for a certain period of time to be prescribed by the Court in its sentencing order. You might want to explain this to your boss and hopefully it will change his behaviour.