Traffic rules in South Africa are created and enforced to ensure road safety, minimise road accidents, and maintain orderly flow of traffic. If one violates these rules, they are slapped with fines. Fines are penalties imposed by the government for breaking the law. Here is how to scrap traffic fines in South Africa today.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- How to scrap traffic fines in South Africa
- When do traffic fines expire in South Africa?
- What happens if you don't pay a traffic ticket in South Africa?
- Do traffic fines expire in South Africa?
- How can you reduce your fines in South Africa?
- How do you get a traffic fine reduction in Cape Town?
- How do you check if you have outstanding traffic fines in South Africa?
Traffic fines are penalties for offences committed on South African roads. There are consequences for not paying fines, including the loss of your driver's license and imprisonment. Learn how to scrap traffic fines in South Africa or reduce the penalty you have received.
How to scrap traffic fines in South Africa
Good and honest citizens are required to pay their traffic fines in South Africa. If you feel the fine you are supposed to pay is too high, there are steps you can take to have them reduced. Below is all the information you should know about traffic fines in SA and how to handle them.
AARTO traffic fines explained
AARTO is an acronym for the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act. AARTO is the administrator of the National Road Traffic Act in South Africa.
This means that AARTO is responsible for the administration, collection and adjudication of fines related to road traffic offences.
For some time, AARTO was active in Johannesburg and Pretoria. In October 2023, it was announced that the act would be rolled out nationwide in 2024. Currently, AARTO is rolling out its mandate across the country.
If a South African citizen or resident is served with a traffic fine and feels it is too stringent, they can request for correction or contest it in a court of law. Note that traffic fines normally expire after 18 months or one and a half years of no summons have been issued.
Types of traffic fines
Before you learn how to scrap fines, you should have a basic understanding of the types of traffic fines in SA. Check them out below.
- Section 56 traffic fine: A section 56 notice is issued by a traffic officer. It involves an offence that happened while the vehicle was in motion. You have 14 days to pay the amount charged. In addition, they are required to attend court on the appointed date. The date is usually given within four months.
- Section 341 traffic ticket: This type is issued to motorists whose violation of traffic rules is caught on camera. The motorist receives a notice and has 30 days to pay it. If they do not pay the fine after the notice, they receive a summons. Those who pay do not receive a summons.
How to scrap traffic fines in SA
If you believe you have valid grounds to have your traffic fine reduced or scrapped, take the following steps:
- Review the fine notice: Read through the notice keenly, ensuring the information is accurate. Understand the offences written down and more about them, the location where you got the fine, and all the details about your vehicle.
- Gather evidence: Evidence includes photographs, witness statements, or any relevant documentation. What you gather should demonstrate an error or misunderstanding.
- Contact the issuing authority: You can find the contact details you require on the notice. Use them to ask about the possibility of having the fine reduced or scrapped. You should also enquire more about the process to be followed to get the fine reduced or scrapped.
- Negotiate: If you are in direct communication with the authority that issued the fine, you can negotiate a reduction depending on your circumstances.
- Follow-up: If you have submitted a formal request for review, follow up with the issuing authority to ensure your case is being processed. Doing so shows your commitment to resolving the matter.
- Always be respectful and cooperative: Do your best to maintain a respectful and cooperative attitude throughout the process. Never be aggressive because aggression hinders your chances of a favourable outcome.
- Pay the necessary amount: If your efforts to reduce or scrap the fine are not successful, go ahead and pay the fine as asked. Paying prevents more penalties and other legal consequences.
How to contest traffic fines in Cape Town
If you feel the need to contest a traffic fine, you should contact the relevant authorities. They have dedicated contact numbers for those lodging contests.
Before you lodge a contest, check the notice for errors. If you note any error, request a correction from the issuing authority. If the offence is minor, you can negotiate with the issuing officer for a reduction.
Once you are certain you need to contest, submit a written statement explaining yourself. The statement should be sent to either of the contact details given below.
- Email: email@example.com
- Fax: 086 293 8189
What makes a traffic fine invalid in South Africa?
A traffic fine may be considered invalid or contestable under the circumstances explored below.
- Mistaken identity: If you can prove you were not driving a particular vehicle at the time of the offence, you may have grounds to lodge a contest based on mistaken identity.
- Incorrect details: If the information on the notice is incorrect, e.g., incorrect vehicle details, license plate number, date, or location of the offence, you can lodge a contest.
- Procedural errors: You can contest if the fine was issued improperly, e.g., the issuing officer did not follow proper procedures or did not provide clear evidence of the offence.
- Defective equipment: If the offence involves equipment violations, e.g., a faulty speed camera, you can demonstrate that the equipment was malfunctioning.
- Lack of evidence: If you believe there is insufficient evidence to prove that you committed the offence, you can lodge a contest.
- Entitlement to right of way: If you were given a fine for a violation related to the right of way but had the right of way according to the traffic rules, you can contest as long as you have evidence supporting your claim.
- Signage issues: If road signs were missing, unclear, or misleading at the time of the offence, you may have grounds to lodge a contest.
- Emergencies: If you can prove that you were acting out of necessity due to an emergency, e.g., rushing a person to hospital, you can lodge a contest.
When do traffic fines expire in South Africa?
All outstanding traffic fines are normally cancelled after 18 months if no summons have been issued. This means that you do not have to pay traffic fines older than 18 months. Note that an issued summons has a lifespan of two years.
What happens if you don't pay a traffic ticket in South Africa?
If you do not pay or dispute a fine, a warrant for your arrest will be issued as soon as the case goes to court. If you cannot raise the required amount, traffic officers may help you to come up with a suitable payment plan.
Do traffic fines expire in South Africa?
Yes, traffic fines expire after 18 months in SA, but only if no summons have been made.
How can you reduce your fines in South Africa?
You can reduce your fine by negotiating with the traffic officer involved. Alternatively, you can lodge a contest for the fine.
How do you get a traffic fine reduction in Cape Town?
You can get a reduction if you negotiate with the traffic officer involved. If this fails, you can contest the fine using the correct channels.
How do you check if you have outstanding traffic fines in South Africa?
Learning how to scrap traffic fines in South Africa is important for all motorists. It is advisable to carefully review the fine notice, adhere to the payment instructions, and address the fine responsibly.
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Source: Briefly News