Speeding motorists to lose licences
Johannesburg – South African motorists who break the speed limit by more than 30km/h risk having their driver’s licence suspended. Amendments to the National Road Traffic Act that kicked in this week could lead to speeding motorists having their licence suspended indefinitely – even those who pay an admission-of-guilt fine. The changes President Jacob Zuma signed into law last week include the stipulation that a speedster’s licence will automatically be suspended if he is found guilty in court. This includes drivers “recorded” on camera exceeding the new speed limits. The amendment states that a licence will be suspended if a motorist is convicted of driving faster than 30km/h over the speed limit in an urban area. Outside urban areas or on a freeway, drivers will be liable to having their licence suspended if they exceed the limit by more than 40km/h. Once the motorist has been caught on camera, the matter is handed to the courts and the offender either admits guilt and pays a fine or contests the offence. The court decides if the driver’s licence will be suspended and for how long. But experts say the new act will prompt motorists to avoid paying fines to prolong the court process. Prosecutor Christhenus van der Vijver, who specialises in road offences, said the amendments would flood already overburdened courts “with people who are going to contest their fines in fear of having their licence revoked”, he said.