Making Sense of the Laws Affecting Drivers

The AAís Opinion On The Amendments To The National Road Traffic Act

3 July 2013:

With approximately 40 people dying on our roads each day, steps to reduce this carnage are critical. In an attempt to do just that, amendments to the National Road Traffic Act have been announced, some of which have far-reaching consequences for new and existing drivers. The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) has a look at one of these amendments, the amendment to driving licences, which has the potential to have the most impact.

According to statistics from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), on average 9.6 million driverís licences are issued each month in South Africa. Although this figure does include renewed licences, it represents an alarmingly high number of new drivers on South Africaís roads each month.
One of the amendments proposed is the introduction of the provisional driverís licence. This will mean that once a driver has passed the K53 Driver Licence test, he/she will be issued with a provisional or temporary licence valid for 12 months. At the end of the 12-month period, a normal standard driverís licence will be issued, providing the driverís Ďrecordí has remained clear.
As part of the provisional licence there is a list of required conditions that need to be met before the standard licence is issued. If any of the below are contravened, the provisional licence can be suspended for 24 months:
  • Exceeding the prescribed speed limit
  • Found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Committing six traffic offences
  • Carrying more than the permitted number of passengers for which the seating capacity allows
  • Driving a motor vehicle between midnight and 4 am
  • Not completing the provisional driving licence logbook on all trips undertaken within a minimum driving time of 60 hours.
  • A red letter P must be displayed at the back of the vehicle at all times indicating to other road users that the driver is a provisional licence holder.
At the end of the 12 months, if none of the above requirements have been infringed, a regular driverís licence will be issued.
According to the AA, the provisional driverís licence can be instrumental in changing the behaviour of new drivers Ė if new drivers get into the habit of obeying the rules of the road from the start, then hopefully this is something that will continue once they have been certified. If it helps change behaviour it could have a direct impact on reducing the number of road crashes each year, which is something to strive for.
At this stage these are merely proposed amendments, due to be gazetted in July, and while they are positive they will come to nothing without the proper level of sustained law enforcement. With over 14, 000 people dying on South Africaís roads each year, the necessary commitment from all levels, public, private and individual, is essential to make our roads safer.

Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180

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