We all know that potholes on poorly maintained roads wear down our car’s tyres – but we’ve now found out our worn tyres may be damaging the road.
While many South Africans may regard this as an absurd statement, such a charge does exist.
A traffic fine of R125 issued for this infringement in Nellmapius, Pretoria, is doing the rounds on Facebook. It has left many social media users either surprised or hot under the collar. Cornelia van Niekerk, the owner of Fines4U, a company that specialises in the legal reduction of fines, referred to charge code 2839 of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences regulations, saying it made provision for just this.
She quoted the relevant text in the code: “A vehicle equipped with worn-decayed tyres that could damage the road or be a danger to other road users.”
Van Niekerk said it might sound wrong, but the official was not mistaken when issuing the fine under this code. However, she questioned whether smooth tyres would do such damage: “It would only do damage if you were driving on rims, because then it is metal on tar.”
Driving with worn tyres is dangerous because they can burst or come loose, which may lead to an accident. If the tyre comes off, the rim can damage the road.
Van Niekerk said her company received many fines from drivers who had been charged for ridiculous reasons. Fines4U made representations on behalf of these drivers to have the fines scrapped.
If a description recorded on a fine does not fit the charge code, it can be declared invalid and scrapped once representations are made.
She said written fines were few – 95% of fines are issued after drivers speed past traffic cameras.
A separate but related fine was issued by the Tshwane Metro Council for the use of incorrect tyres in graveyards. A promulgated municipal regulation states that conveying stones, bricks or monuments in Pretoria’s cemeteries on a truck or vehicle that does not have pneumatic tyres will result in a R500 fine.