Most expensive traffic fines in South Africa – with penalties of R1,000 or more

 ·22 Jun 2024

At least 26 traffic violations are relevant to the average motorist while driving, and if you are caught by the traffic authorities in South Africa, you will be fined R1,000 or more.

The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act is expected to start rolling out nationwide soon, bringing with it a host of changes for drivers in South Africa.

One of the upcoming changes is the introduction of a new driving demerit system, which will penalize drivers for violating traffic laws.

The system will assign demerit points to drivers and vehicle operators guilty of traffic violations, and these points may lead to the suspension or revocation of driving licenses. It’s important to note that this will not exempt drivers from paying speeding fines that they have lawfully received.

You can get one of two kinds of fines, regardless of the traffic violation:

  • (1) A Section 56 notice is given to you by a traffic officer, usually for a moving violation. It has a court date on it.

  • (2) A Section 341 notice is sent to a motorist by post for violations caught on traffic cameras or for traffic tickets issued in the absence of the motorists (for example, for an expired licence disc). It does not have a court date on it but is a first notice before summons. The Traffic Department will issue a second notice before actually issuing the summons.

It’s essential to recognise the key distinctions between AARTO and fines given by local or provincial authorities.

In the latter instances, fines are handled as criminal matters through the courts, while AARTO removes the criminal aspect of speeding and turns it into an administrative procedure.

Among the main reasons for implementing AARTO is the need to crack down on lawlessness on South Africa’s roads, which has led to high levels of accidents and deaths.

However, some have agreed that it will not change motorists’ behaviour and is just another revenue-making scheme.

Despite the doubts towards the reasons for the new system, recent data shows that South Africans are accustomed to breaking the law.

The City of Cape Town’s Traffic Service noted that it records an average of 3.6 million offences a year, which translates to around 9,863 fines handed out every day.

These cover everything from speeding and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol to false documentation, driving a stolen vehicle, or assaulting an officer.

More broadly, throughout the 2024 Easter weekend, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) performed more than 75,000 stops for vehicles travelling along the N1, N3, and N4 and subsequently issued 916,927 fines for various infringements including driving without a licence, drunk driving, driving while overloaded with goods or passengers, and providing false documents.

Additionally, more than 1,000 motorists were arrested, and 900 vehicles were impounded across the country’s nine provinces, 274 of which were declared unroadworthy.

Considering this, BusinessTech looked at some of South Africa’s most expensive driving offences, which can cost up to R1,500 before arrest.

We looked at general road offences that apply to the everyday motorist, not those who operate trucks or public transport vehicles such as taxis.

We took the fine amounts from Foresight Publications, which keeps track of roads and transport legislation and numerous fees in the industry, including toll charges and vehicle licence disc renewal fees.

According to the publication, the most expensive fine is refusing to give blood or breath samples under the suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. This will cost you R1,500.

The second most expensive fine is speeding. Exceeding the speed limit by 26 km/h to 30 km/h will cost you R1,000.

However, escalating this from 31 km/h to 35 km/h will cost you R1,250, and 36 km/h to 40 km/h will cost a hefty R1,500.

Anything over 40 km/h will result in arrest and a court date. Driving without a license will also cost R1,250.

The table below shows all 26 offences that cost R1,000 or more in South Africa.

OffenceFine amount
Refusing to give blood or breath sample (DUI)R1,500
Exceeding the speed limit by 26 km/h to 40km/hR1,000–R1,500
Smoked before blood/breath specimen was takenR1,250
Driver not licensedR1,250
Motor vehicle not registeredR1,000
Motor vehicle not licensedR1,000
Failing to report accidentR1,000
Failing to keep to the leftR1,000
Driving on the wrong side or across a dividing strip or traffic islandR1,000
Overtaking illegally on the leftR1,000
Cutting in after overtakingR1,000
Overtaking on the shoulders or vergeR1,000
Encroaching the right half of the road, obstructing oncoming trafficR1,000
Accelerating while being overtakenR1,000
Encroaching the right half of the road obstructing oncoming trafficR1,000
Driving across a road when it is unsafe to do soR1,000
Entering a road when it is unsafe to do soR1,000
Overtaking on a blind rise, a curve, or where the view is restrictedR1,000
Reversing too far or dangerouslyR1,000
Following too closelyR1,000
Permitting a person to occupy a position in a vehicle restricting the driver’s full controlR1,000
Permitting a person to interfere with the steering or operating mechanismR1,000
Driver not positioned to exercise complete control of vehicleR1,000
Racing on public roadR1,000
Damaging public roadR1,000
Using chocks between the wheel and the roadR1,000

Read: R10,000 blow to car owners in South Africa

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