Avoid a fine – check your fuel

2010-09-19 15:51

Keeping an eye on your fuel gauge will not only prevent you from running out of ­petrol on the road – it could also save you from paying a big fine and ­having your car impounded.

Contrary to what some motorists may believe, being fined between R500 and R1?000 for running out of petrol on a freeway is not new; nor is it a means for local traffic authorities to fatten their pockets ahead of the Christmas season.

The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), which has been clamping down on such poor judgment in recent days, said the regulation fell ­under Act 93 of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996.

“We decided to highlight this law as part of our Operation Nomakanjani (no matter what), which was launched last year,” said JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar.

He said a vehicle stopping on a freeway after running out of fuel was negligence on the driver’s part; it was a driver’s responsibility – by checking the fuel gauge – to judge how far a car could go.

He said although the law was national, it seemed it was being enforced only in Gauteng for the time being.

“Motorists will be fined between R500 and R1 000 and have their cars impounded for causing an obstruction.

“It will cost an additional R835 to have the vehicle released from the impound lot.”

If motorists could prove the breakdown was due to mechanical failure, Minnaar said, they would not be fined.

“Motorists need to realise the danger they can cause for other motorists and themselves by being reckless and negligent. Incidents like this can cause ­serious accidents.”

Other offences which fall under Operation Nomakanjani include the repairing and washing of cars on public roads, causing traffic obstructions and creating illegal taxi ranks.

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