Everyone knows that you should only drive a vehicle on South Africa’s roads when you hold a valid driving licence. Yet, Easter weekend saw 1909 individuals fined for driving without one. Not only were these people breaking the law, but, they were being irresponsible too by putting other road users, as well as pedestrians, at risk. And, with multiple cases of alleged driving licence corruption in South Africa currently doing the rounds, now, more than ever, is the time to make sure you’re adhering to the country’s traffic laws.
What the law says
The National Road Travel Act 1996 states that it is against the law to drive a motor vehicle without a valid licence. Driving without a licence in South Africa isn’t usually an arrestable offence and most cases are settled with an on the spot fine unless a road incident has occurred. So, why do people chance driving without a licence? One reason could be due to new regulations which were introduced in May 2017 which forces individuals renewing their license to undergo a practical re-evaluation. Another reason is that many South Africans learn to drive from family and friends without ever getting a licence, they obtain a vehicle of low value which they fail to insure, knowing that their risk of being caught is limited.
The risks of driving without a licence
One of the greatest risks of driving without a licence or allowing a friend or family member to drive your vehicle without a licence is that, in the event of an accident, your insurance company won’t pay out. Thus, leaving you with damages that you’ll have to pay for out of your own pocket. You may also struggle to gain an insurance policy in the future and your premiums are likely to rocket.
While driving a vehicle might seem easy, a licence means the carrier has the knowledge, skills, and experience to handle their vehicle and to navigate the roads in various conditions. South African law doesn’t make vehicle insurance compulsory, however, regardless of the value of your vehicle, it’s highly recommended that it is purchased. Therefore, if you’re considering driving without a license and insurance or are thinking about lending your car to someone without one, carefully reconsider your decision in order to protect yourself, your vehicle and, more importantly, everyone else on the road.
Driving is a luxury which many South Africans take for granted. However, it’s essential that you pass a driving examination and legitimately obtain a driving licence before getting into your car, to avoid becoming the next local to be hit with an on the spot fine