Late last year the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) CEO, Makhosini Msibi, issued a warning that offences such as not wearing a seatbelt and driving without a licence could get you arrested.
The chairman of the Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) quickly flagged the statement as reckless and outrageous. Here are some traffic offences that you can actually be arrested for:
To clarify things, the JPSA provided a list of traffic offences that are criminal under the 2008 AARTO Regulations. The following are generalised summaries of 11 criminal offences listed in the AARTO regulations for which you can be detained:
Driving under the influence alcohol or drugs. (This also applies if you occupy the driver’s seat while under the influence, and the engine is running.)
Operating a vehicle recklessly. (e.g. overtaking on a solid line in the face of oncoming traffic, disregarding a red traffic signal etc.)
Exceeding the speed limit by 40km/h or more. (This applies to the general speed limit and speed limits prescribed by road signs.)
“While it is true that the AARTO Act is only in force in the Cities of Johannesburg and Tshwane, and fines under the Criminal Procedure Act in force elsewhere in the country will differ, whether or not arrest is sanctioned cannot differ because the Constitution enshrines equality before the law,” the JPSA said.
As much as we need some stringent rules to govern our roads, claiming that forgetting your licence at home or not wearing a seatbelt will get you arrested is grossly misinformed. While you may not get arrested, there are still fines applicable to these offences so don’t forget to buckle up.