Current Traffic Rules / Laws

Beylie

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Jul 4, 2009
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I'm so tired of getting spammed with mail warning about this and that new law in terms of the traffic laws in this country. It seems there is one every other week. Has anyone got some info on what the law actually is? Perhaps we can use this thread to document the current laws and use it as a reference should it become necessary.

If anyone can, please advise on:

Speeding - different provinces, tolerance, fine amounts etc.
Rights - can they search a car without a warrant etc.
Drunk driving - is it true that if you lock yourself in your car after being pulled over, that they're not allowed to break into your car to get to you etc.
Metro / cops driving like idiots - can they fly 120 down a 60 zone without sirens etc?
Online car and driver license renewals - why not? Perhaps the SARS people can implement it? etc
etc etc etc.

Feel free to add to the thread if you're in the know.
 

Ono'rach

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Jul 28, 2010
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I'm very glad that you started this thread, as I've been hearing all kinds of strange rumours. Such as people getting fines for doing 61km/h in a 60 zone (I'm quite sure that you can only get a fine for 71km/h and up), people getting locked up for doing 90km/h in a 60 zone (whereas afaik you can only receive a summons for doing 40km/h over the limit) and also ludicrously high fines (such as R1500 for doing 75 in a 60 zone). I really hope that somebody can help us clarify what the position actually is!
 

ambroseg1

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Rights - can they search a car without a warrant etc.
according to my lawyer friend, no law enforcement official may search your vehicle without a warrant. Even at a roadblock. But she is also a realist, and advises to let them search otherwise they will lock you up for the hell of it.
 

Beylie

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Messages
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according to my lawyer friend, no law enforcement official may search your vehicle without a warrant. Even at a roadblock. But she is also a realist, and advises to let them search otherwise they will lock you up for the hell of it.
So they'll lock you up for obstruction of justice? This worries me. What exactly are our rights? I believe that if you don't have anything to hide you'll probably cooperate with the cops, but I'm sure there are corrupt ones out there too that will "find" something wrong unless you bribe them.

This raises another question. Am I allowed to make a video of the cop asking me for my license, inspecting my car, etc? You know, just in case. :)
 

Nanfeishen

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Two articles on the new laws :

*
If you are caught doing up to 20 percent over the speed limit, you will get a fine of R250, but no demerit points - for example speeding up to 72km/h in a 60km/h zone or up to 144km/h in a 120km/h zone.
*
If you are 21 percent to 30 percent over the speed limit you will get one demerit point and a R500 fine - for example travelling up to 78km/h in a 60km/h zone or up to 156km/h in a 120km/h zone.
*
If you are 31 percent to 45 percent over the speed limit you get two demerit points and a R750 fine - for example up to 87km/h in a 60km/h zone or 174km/h in a 120km/h zone.
*
If you are 46 percent to 60 percent over the speed limit you are docked three demerit points and fined R1 250 - for example doing up to 96km/h in a 60km/h zone or up to 192km/h in a 120km/h zone.
*
Doing more than 60 percent over the limit will mean the driver will go straight to court where the magistrate will determine the fine - and four demerit points will be deducted.
http://www.autoworld.co.za/TrafficLaw_7618.aspx

Hers is a comprehensive list of all offenses:
http://www.autoworld.co.za/NewsArticle.aspx?Article=7176
 

Ono'rach

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according to my lawyer friend, no law enforcement official may search your vehicle without a warrant. Even at a roadblock. But she is also a realist, and advises to let them search otherwise they will lock you up for the hell of it.
That is not the case. If memory serves me well they may also search your car if you consent, if they believe that the delay in getting a warrant issued would negate the purpose of having the warrant, if they reasonably believe that a warrant would have been issued in these circumstances or if they reasonably believe that a crime has been or is being committed.

This is in the Criminal Procedure Act, not sure what section. I will try to find a link to the Act...
 

Ono'rach

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Beylie

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@Nanfeishen - Thanks for the links, makes for interesting reading. The date on the articles are 2009 though. I wonder how accurate the info is?
 

MFour

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I'm very glad that you started this thread, as I've been hearing all kinds of strange rumours. Such as people getting fines for doing 61km/h in a 60 zone (I'm quite sure that you can only get a fine for 71km/h and up), people getting locked up for doing 90km/h in a 60 zone (whereas afaik you can only receive a summons for doing 40km/h over the limit) and also ludicrously high fines (such as R1500 for doing 75 in a 60 zone). I really hope that somebody can help us clarify what the position actually is!
The law makes provision for anyone to be fined if you are doing say 61km/h in a 60km/h zone. The allowance of 10km/h some provinces / areas use are at their discretion and not required by law. It was even found that some traffic departments allow up to 20km/h over the speed limit. The short answer for the heavier fines, as you go up the ladder in transgression, has to do with the speed of impact and the stopping distance you need, should you spot a problem and slam on the brakes.

Remember that speed limits are calculated taking into account many factors such as: visibility, road surface, traffic volume and patterns, pedestrian volume, etc. Relative to that the set limit tries to ensure that a driver will be able to manage an emergency (any one of the above) should it arise. So the higher your speed climbs the less likely you'll be able to deal with an emergency on that particular road. Now to right yourself off all b your lonesome is not really anyone's problem but your own, however, with the amount of traffic on our roads that is less likely to happen and the less chance someone has to to be able to deal with a situation, the more likely it is they will take an innocent by-stander along with them. Then we have not even started on the obligation the gov has to make our roads as safe as possible by implementing restrictions to that end.

Point is, speed limits and fines are very necessary, and we should not be shouting about how expensive they are, rather about how dangerous it is to transgress. Anyway, not everyone thinks the same regarding safety I suppose.
 

Ono'rach

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The law makes provision for anyone to be fined if you are doing say 61km/h in a 60km/h zone. The allowance of 10km/h some provinces / areas use are at their discretion and not required by law. It was even found that some traffic departments allow up to 20km/h over the speed limit. The short answer for the heavier fines, as you go up the ladder in transgression, has to do with the speed of impact and the stopping distance you need, should you spot a problem and slam on the brakes.

Remember that speed limits are calculated taking into account many factors such as: visibility, road surface, traffic volume and patterns, pedestrian volume, etc. Relative to that the set limit tries to ensure that a driver will be able to manage an emergency (any one of the above) should it arise. So the higher your speed climbs the less likely you'll be able to deal with an emergency on that particular road. Now to right yourself off all b your lonesome is not really anyone's problem but your own, however, with the amount of traffic on our roads that is less likely to happen and the less chance someone has to to be able to deal with a situation, the more likely it is they will take an innocent by-stander along with them. Then we have not even started on the obligation the gov has to make our roads as safe as possible by implementing restrictions to that end.

Point is, speed limits and fines are very necessary, and we should not be shouting about how expensive they are, rather about how dangerous it is to transgress. Anyway, not everyone thinks the same regarding safety I suppose.
I understand what you are saying, but my problem is that the public have absolutely no idea where they stand. As far as I know, there is supposed to be a set tariff for specific violations. That way, the various traffic departments can't decide to charge someone R500 for doing 1km/h over the speed limit because their bank balance is getting too low. This way Joe Public knows that he is not being unnecessarily over-charged.

Now I am NOT promoting speeding or reckless driving in any way, I just believe that it is tremendously unfair that you can commit the exact same offence in two different places and the traffic department can have a discretion to choose whatever fine they wish for whatever speed you have gone over the limit without the public having any insight into how these amounts came about.

*Edit*

Do you have a link to the legislation that you are referring to please?
 

supersunbird

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I understand what you are saying, but my problem is that the public have absolutely no idea where they stand. As far as I know, there is supposed to be a set tariff for specific violations. That way, the various traffic departments can't decide to charge someone R500 for doing 1km/h over the speed limit because their bank balance is getting too low. This way Joe Public knows that he is not being unnecessarily over-charged.

Now I am NOT promoting speeding or reckless driving in any way, I just believe that it is tremendously unfair that you can commit the exact same offence in two different places and the traffic department can have a discretion to choose whatever fine they wish for whatever speed you have gone over the limit without the public having any insight into how these amounts came about.

*Edit*

Do you have a link to the legislation that you are referring to please?
The system was/is fragmented under the current municipal system. AARTO will address the variances and standardise everything, not that anyone (taxis, transport companies, lots of normal public) wants that it seems.
 

Nanfeishen

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@Nanfeishen - Thanks for the links, makes for interesting reading. The date on the articles are 2009 though. I wonder how accurate the info is?
For Further info on the new Absolutely Anal Retarded Traffic Offences or (AARTO) here are all the 2056 possible ways you can be milked and robbed of your hard earned money, every time you venture out on the road whether on foot, by bicycle, moped, motorcycle, car truck, bus or horse drawn cart
http://www.aarto.co.za/chargecodes-list.asp

WRT to speeding:
http://www.aarto.co.za/chargecodes-list.asp?offset=1740

Make a note of the zero next to the offense, it means that this is criminal offense, and no fine has yet been set, so this requires a court appearance and other more meaningless time wasting.
See Footnote for more info on the first page of the 2056 ways you can get screwed.
 

supersunbird

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For Further info on the new Absolutely Anal Retarded Traffic Offences or (AARTO) here are all the 2056 possible ways you can be milked and robbed of your hard earned money, every time you venture out on the road whether on foot, by bicycle, moped, motorcycle, car truck, bus or horse drawn cart
http://www.aarto.co.za/chargecodes-list.asp

WRT to speeding:
http://www.aarto.co.za/chargecodes-list.asp?offset=1740

Make a note of the zero next to the offense, it means that this is criminal offense, and no fine has yet been set, so this requires a court appearance and other more meaningless time wasting.
See Footnote for more info on the first page of the 2056 ways you can get screwed.
So the current road situation is perfect in your eyes? (if i read the message behind your post)
 

MFour

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Joined
Feb 25, 2005
Messages
2,902
I understand what you are saying, but my problem is that the public have absolutely no idea where they stand. As far as I know, there is supposed to be a set tariff for specific violations. That way, the various traffic departments can't decide to charge someone R500 for doing 1km/h over the speed limit because their bank balance is getting too low. This way Joe Public knows that he is not being unnecessarily over-charged.

Now I am NOT promoting speeding or reckless driving in any way, I just believe that it is tremendously unfair that you can commit the exact same offence in two different places and the traffic department can have a discretion to choose whatever fine they wish for whatever speed you have gone over the limit without the public having any insight into how these amounts came about.

*Edit*

Do you have a link to the legislation that you are referring to please?
I agree with you 100%. Clarity is not always one of the governments strong points and combined with the level of corruption out there good information is vital.

As far as the legislation regarding speed fines, you can have a look for this section: National Road Traffic Act, 1996 Chapter IX : Road traffic signs and general speed limit Section 59. Speed limit Link to the legislation: http://www.acts.co.za/rt_nrta/index.htm You will see there that it simply states that not obeying a road sign / speed limit is an offence, period. The discretionary 10km/h allowance is normally dictated by local by-laws, AFAIK.

With regard to the fine amounts, I know it is captured in some Gov Gazette somewhere, which I can't find right now, but for quick reference this might help: http://www.aarto.co.za/chargecodes-list.asp?offset=1740
 

froot

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Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
11,339
I'm so tired of getting spammed with mail warning about this and that new law in terms of the traffic laws in this country. It seems there is one every other week. Has anyone got some info on what the law actually is? Perhaps we can use this thread to document the current laws and use it as a reference should it become necessary.

If anyone can, please advise on:

Speeding - different provinces, tolerance, fine amounts etc.
Rights - can they search a car without a warrant etc.
Drunk driving - is it true that if you lock yourself in your car after being pulled over, that they're not allowed to break into your car to get to you etc.
Metro / cops driving like idiots - can they fly 120 down a 60 zone without sirens etc?
Online car and driver license renewals - why not? Perhaps the SARS people can implement it? etc
etc etc etc.

Feel free to add to the thread if you're in the know.
As mentioned, the above laws are implemented differently and understood/interpreted differently across SA.

1. Speed-wise, see above for fine rates... it differs tremendously. Just don't try your luck in KZN.... those people are fine-happy :p
2. wrt drunk driving, it's a good question, but they could claim obstruction of justice if they can see/ suspect reasonable suspicion of being pissed out of your mind.
3. Emergency vehicles are only allowed over the speed limit in the event of an emergency. Period. I can go look this up, but I remember this distinctly. Ambulances other than Government vehicles are not allowed over the speed limit, but this is due to their own rules - Netcare for instance sends out sms's to the control room if their drivers speed.
If a Police/Metro car is driving recklessly, in your opinion, and without justifiable cause, note the vehicle's callsign and report it to their station manager.
4. Would be nice... except that eye tests have to be done by them and this is a problem for drivers'. You can do your vehicle disc at most shopping centers though, they charge like R50 or whatever. That's what I do for mine.
 

ambroseg1

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That is not the case. If memory serves me well they may also search your car if you consent, if they believe that the delay in getting a warrant issued would negate the purpose of having the warrant, if they reasonably believe that a warrant would have been issued in these circumstances or if they reasonably believe that a crime has been or is being committed.

This is in the Criminal Procedure Act, not sure what section. I will try to find a link to the Act...
I know. even my dog can search my car if I consent. The point is, they dont ask to search. they just search. And the rest about negateing the purpose and if they reasonably believe blah blah blah.....basically it comes down to they can do as they please, which is screwed up.
 

Ono'rach

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I know. even my dog can search my car if I consent. The point is, they dont ask to search. they just search. And the rest about negateing the purpose and if they reasonably believe blah blah blah.....basically it comes down to they can do as they please, which is screwed up.
Thats pretty much it hey...
 

Nanfeishen

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Apr 8, 2006
Messages
8,015
So the current road situation is perfect in your eyes? (if i read the message behind your post)
Its not perfect, but it works better than in most other 3rd world countries.

I see no point in implementing 1st world traffic policy in a 3rd world country. This is Africa, there will always be vehicles on the road that are not 100%, especially considering the staggering prices we have to pay for vehicles in the first place. And considering how much we rely on private transport, with the almost non-existence of decent, reliable, safe public transport.

Something the government is clearly very aware of and therefore taking full advantage of that fact with this legislation
All i see here is the authorities implementing a system that generates money more than they are willing to introduce any decent driver education program.

If one takes deaths and serious accidents into consideration the majority are driver related.
Drunk - drivers fault
Reckless - drivers fault
Speeding - drivers fault
Overloading - drivers fault
Fatigue/falliing asleep - drivers fault

The above, or a combination of the above are the root cause of almost all serious accidents, and can be rectified by decent driver education programs, implemented by government, and introduced into all schools from grade 10.
However the above costs money, so instead of paying money out it is easier and more lucrative to create a system that generates revenue from the people, at no, or minimal cost from the government.

If you bother to actually read through all 2056 finable offenses, you will find that many are vehicle related, and actually do not impact other road users significantly enough to create hazardous situations.

In over 25 years of driving, totaling hundreds of thousands of kilometres around South Africa, and Namibia, i have never encountered anything other than the odd vehicle at night with rear lights not working, that i considered hazardous, the rest were all driver related hazards, up to and including any accident i have been involved in, being either myself or the other drivers fault.
The same can be said for all accidents i have witnessed or attended - all were driver related.

This new legislation is purely designed to generate revenue not to reduce road fatalities.

Because at the end of the day it comes down to the nut behind the wheel, nothing else.
 
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