Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Don’t let unpaid fines ruin your Easter weekend

AA urges road users to be extra vigilant over long weekend.

With the surge in traffic expected over Easter weekend, motorists planning a much-needed getaway could be in for a nasty surprise should they have any unpaid traffic fines.

As always, holiday-makers taking to major routes for long weekend-getaways can expect traffic police presence in the form of road blocks. During these routine stops, vehicles’ licence discs are checked are also driver’s licences, which could not only show infringements notices but also warrants for arrests.

“The reality is that many motorists don’t even receive their infringement notices or warrants and are invariably unaware they have them. So, if they are pulled over, the traffic officer is entitled to arrest the driver,” says Barry Berman, CEO of Fines SA.

“The difficulty for motorists is that fines are posted and hardly ever reach the person, and secondly, fines may have been incurred in other regions of South Africa if the driver travelled or used a rental car.”

Fines SA can help alleviate these headaches. Once a motorist is registered on the site, fines from all municipalities across the country are updated to the system daily. Discounts are offered for fines over R300 and there are a variety of payment options.

“If motorists are planning to settle their fines a day or two before going on holiday, they’re taking a big risk, as it’s not a quick process,” adds Berman.

“Aarto and other municipalities have a backlog, and if there’s a warrant out against the motorist, they will have to go to court, so it can take a few days to resolve.”

Although Fines SA does offer a convenient service to settle fines, Berman recommends motorists nonetheless try and not break the law in the first place. The Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa has concurred with this view, urging all road users to take extreme care over the Easter period.

“The Easter long-weekend has traditionally been disastrous as far as road crashes and road fatalities is concerned. In the last decade, 2 469 people have died on the country’s roads over the Easter period. To prevent this annual carnage, road users must be vigilant and focussed when on the roads,” says the AA.

“Just because you’re not driving doesn’t mean you’re not a road user. Passengers, commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, people riding motorbikes, and even people selling products on the road are all road users. Along with electronic devices, drink, drugs and distraction are all dangerous to all road users.

“South Africa has an horrendous road safety record, and it doesn’t get better annually. While there are many things the government must do to improve road safety it’s also the responsibility of road users to play their role. Without a conscious effort by road users to be safe, no actions by the government will ever work,” concludes the AA.

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