South African motorists are legally obligated to report motor vehicle collisions in terms of the National Road Traffic Act.
“This is to be done within 24-hours of the accident occurring or by the end of the first working day following the collision,” says Jared Poole of law firm Schoeman Law.
“It is necessary for the driver involved to do so and may also be done by either a pedestrian or passenger involved in the collision.”
Poole noted that previously, this had to be done in person and it was recommended to do so at the Police Station closest to the scene of the collision,
“However that does not have to be the case anymore. With the implementation of lockdown those involved in collisions might find it difficult to report the collisions in person.
“The Road Traffic Management System has now launched an online portal where those involved in a collision may submit a report and obtain a crash report number for free.”
To report such a collision online, the incident has to meet certain requirements, Poole said.
- Firstly, those involved in the collision cannot be injured or killed as a result of the accident – this includes hit and runs;
- Secondly, the collision has to involve less than 5 motor vehicles to qualify for online reporting. Where incidents do not meet these requirements, they are still to be reported to the nearest Police Station in person as soon as possible.
“The benefit hereof is a quicker report and reference being generated for insurance purposes and will additionally allow for no physical exposure to police stations where there are health concerns, especially during these unprecedented times,” said Poole.
You can access the portal here.
In addition to the above procedure, it is important to be aware of the following conditions when reporting a collision online:
- The system will only allow for the reporting of minor damage crashes.
- Crashes which include a person or persons being injured, killed or involved in a hit and run accident/crash must be reported immediately to the nearest Municipal/Metro Police, Traffic Department (MMT) office or South African Police Service (SAPS) station;
- All crashes involving five or more vehicles must be reported at your nearest South African Police Services (SAPS);
- The submission of a crash report will be legally binding;
- All crashes must be reported within 24 hours or the next working day. (Non-Working days Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays);
- The system will provide the user with an automatically generated Crash Report Number (CRN) for insurance claims;
- The information submitted by you can be made available to your insurance service provider.