Traffic fines – what are the rules?

By admin
13 June 2013

Are you one of the confused motorists in Joburg wondering whether you have an illegally issued fine? If so, read on .

TEXT: There’s been considerable confusion over whether or not the fines from the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) since 22 December 2012 have been legally issued in Johannesburg. And so people have questioned whether or not a driver is liable to pay the fine.

Let’s clear the confusion . . . your rights as a Joburg motorist are:

If you’ve received a fine via ordinary mail it’s not legal and is then unenforceable. But ? you can’t simply tear it up and throw it away. Only traffic fines issued via registered mail are legal but even the illegal fines remain on the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) system.

The only way to remove these fines altogether is to fill in an AARTO 08 form. This form can be filled in on the AARTO website and submitted online in the event of a dispute over the legitimacy of the fine. The driver has 64 days from the date of offense to submit this form. In this case the cause for discrepancy is the illegal manner in which the fine was issued, that is via ordinary mail.

Although you can’t legally be arrested for these fines because they’re illegal, without submitting the AARTO 08 form and clearing the fine it can still have a knock-on effect when reapplying for your driver’s licence or renewing your car licence as these can’t be issued with outstanding fines against your name. Also, if you’re stopped at a roadblock the JMPD can still insist you pay these fines.

The onus is on each motorist to establish whether or not they have outstanding fines. There are various websites that can assist you with this process. These include www.payfine.co.za, www.viewfines.net and www.myfine.co.za, to name a few. Unfortunately there are some limitations with this. Not all municipalities subscribe to these portals and not all motorists have access to them.

In terms of the Prescription Act, the act doesn’t place a prescription period on debts to government (national or local). This means there’s no expiry date for your traffic fines. It’s best to take responsibility for your actions on the road and avoid this headache altogether by simply obeying the rules of the road.

-Faiza Mallick

Source: The Automobile Association of South Africa

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