Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has warned vehicle owners to carefully check any speed camera-based traffic fines they have received or discover on their banking app.
There have been numerous cases of South African drivers being charged for speeding infractions incorrectly, according to JPSA chair Howard Dembovsky.
“In one recent case, a motorist faced a criminal charge because the location of the infringement was incorrectly recorded,” he said.
In this case, the driver was travelling on a highway and driving at 134km/h in a 120km/h zone. He should therefore have received a speeding fine for going 14km/h over the speed limit.
“The image shows his vehicle on the freeway. However, the location at which the violation was alleged to have occurred was given as an urban road several kilometres away, in an 80km/h zone,” Dembovsky said.
Facing criminal charges
Based on this incorrect location, the driver was charged for going 54km/h over the speed limit, resulting in the classification of the infraction as a criminal offence and triggering a mandatory court appearance.
“For this reason, it is essential that the authorities record the location of an alleged violation correctly, both to prevent spurious criminal charges like in this case, but also to ensure genuine traffic offenders are brought to book,” Dembovsky said.
He added that the JPSA was helping the motorist to have the case withdrawn, but the organisation said it is concerned the same location-based error may have applied to many other speeding infractions recorded by speed cameras.
“Camera violations are meant to be reviewed by a traffic officer before being issued to prevent this kind of error,” Dembovsky said.
“JPSA no longer has confidence that these reviews are being done properly, or indeed at all, which raises the greater question of what levels of oversight exist in traffic law enforcement.”