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Licence Plate Cloned? The Consequences and What You Should Do

Author: Megan Ellis
Date: 2017-07-04
Having your licence plate cloned is more than an inconvenience – it can have a huge impact. Here’s what could happen and what you should do…
While cloned number plates are not a new problem, they are becoming bigger headaches as criminals incur traffic fines and e-toll bills.  Having your number plate cloned is a serious matter though - especially as traffic laws become stricter. We explore what could happen if your plate is cloned. And more importantly, what you should do in this situation.

What Problems Can Be Caused By Number Plate Cloning?

Many people know the feeling of receiving a traffic fine, only to find out that the violation occurred in an area where you were nowhere near to. Besides the annoying paperwork and having to clear the issue up, there are some other problems with this situation.

Future Demerit System

One of these potential problems will become apparent when the licence demerit system is enacted. The system has been in the works for years but hasn't become active just yet. But as soon as it does, traffic violations will act as strikes against your licence. If you have too many demerits, your licence will be suspended. The only way to reduce your demerit points is to go three months without a violation, after which one demerit will be deducted. This will be pretty difficult to do if the cloned number plate continues to be linked to fines.

Renewing Your Licence

Having unresolved traffic fines can prevent you from being able to renew your licence. While you won't get refused if the traffic fine is in the very early stages (before it has been served), any stage past this will complicate your renewal.

E-Toll Bills

E-tolls have proved to be a headache for drivers in more ways than one. But one of the worst problems car owners face is receiving bills for e-tolls due to cloned licence plates. This means that the driver who has cloned your registration plate has been driving through e-tolls without worrying about bills - because they will all be sent to you. Again, you can report this in order to get the bills scrapped - but it is an added inconvenience for you.

Warrant for Arrest

Some criminals use cloned plates for more than just avoiding traffic fines and defrauding insurance companies. In fact, there have been a few stories of police showing up at a car owner's door to tell them that their licence plate was involved in a robbery or violent crime. Even police have been victims of number plate cloning. Having your licence number implicated in a serious crime is more than just a hassle. It can seriously complicate things for you.

What Do I Do If My Number Plate Has Been Cloned?

The good news is that you can report and resolve the issue if your number plate has been cloned. The bad news is that you have to pay for the cost of your new licence plate. The Western Cape Provincial Government outlines three steps for reporting and replacing your licence plate due to duplication. These steps are:
  1. You need to complete and submit an SLN2, supporting documentation and present a copy of your RSA ID to the Transport Administration and Licensing Directorate within the Department of Transport and Public Works.
  2. Only a pro-rata licence fee is payable to the appropriate registering authority.
  3. The cost of the new number plates is for the applicant's account.
You should also report the case to the police so that there is a record of the report. In fact, the moment you find out your plate has been cloned, you should report it. This way, there is a case file already should the plate be implicated in any criminal activities. There are plans to introduce new licence plate regulations to South Africa this year. It is expected that this new system will increase security and help manage regulation of number plates.  

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