“I Hope I Didn’t Just Get A Speeding Ticket!”

Speeding fines are one of the most contentious issues in SA today. But how are speed limits determined and are you being fined correctly?
U
Melissa
Cohen
Published: Monday, July 17th 2017
General
Everyone who drives a vehicle has at one stage or another been driving just a little bit over the speed limit. While we are doing it we think it’s all okay and we promise ourselves that we won’t do it again until... “FLASH”. Yup, you get caught by a speed camera. Now you have received a fat fine for your Fast and The Furious driving habits.  Don't worry we are all guilty of this so we decided to investigate the laws behind South Africa’s speeding limits. Here's what we found: 

Accident Contributing Factors

There are various factors that contribute to the high accident rates that we have in South Africa- one of the main ones being speeding. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s 2016 report, speeding contributed to 14.1% of human factor accidents in 2015/2016. The report divides the accident contribution factors into the following groups with their representation as a percentage:
  • Human Factors - 77.5%;
  • Vehicle Factors - 6.0%;
  • Road & Environmental Factors - 16.5%
The report also highlights that the majority of victims who are killed are pedestrians. Many would argue that although 38.8% of accidents occur to pedestrians that jaywalk, it is the duty of all drivers to be aware of pedestrians when driving at all times.
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Is Speed Really The Issue?

There have been constant discussions among people when it comes to speeding. Some people are firm believers that “speed kills”. This is a slogan used on most billboards around South Africa by the ArriveAlive campaign. Many people on the other hand believe that it is not speed that kills, but rather drivers’ negligence and unqualified driving that causes most accidents. According to a study by ArriveAlive, an extensive speed limit analysis was performed on 25 000 000 vehicles in 2004. Here are what the results show:
  • 30.4% of drivers exceeded the 120km/h speed limit;
  • 14.1% of drivers exceeded 130km/h;
  • 5.9% of drivers drove more than 140km/h.
 

How Are Speed Limits Determined? 

Have you ever wondered how speed signs change their limits in a space of only a few 100 metres? Well according to Western Cape Department of Transport's Media Relations Manager, Byron la Hoe there are various contributing factors that alter the speed limits in various areas.
"It could be determined by the environment, the number of pedestrians using that stretch of road or area at the time and also the amount of traffic passing through. Each municipality has their own approval trend so if a number of pedestrians have been knocked down by vehicles in a particular area then this would warrant a decrease in the speed limit," explains la Hoe.  Read More about how traffic fines are taking a hit below

How Is A Traffic Fine Determined? 

According to la Hoe, drivers are given a 10km leeway when it comes to going over the speed limit. This means that if you are travelling at 105km/h in a 100km/h speed zone- you will not receive a ticket. However if you are travelling at 115km/h in a 100km/h, you will be granted a fine. In another instance, "If you go 40km/h over 120km/h then you are guilty on the spot and then you will have to appear in court because you will be charged, but if you were travelling 20km/h over the speed limit then it warrants only a fine." If you want to know the exact amounts you should be charged according to the speed limit- check out this helpful link here.
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So What Are The Legal Limits?

The National Road Traffic Act of 1989 was established to set the speed limit rules for South Africa’s roads. These are the current speed limit restrictions according to the different areas:
  • 60 km/h on a public road within an urban area;
  • 100 km/h on public road outside an urban area which is not a freeway; and
  • 120 km/h on every freeway.
These speed limits are specific to lightweight motor vehicles and motorcycles. The following vehicle types are required to conform to the following rules:
  • A goods vehicle with a GVM exceeding 9t is required to drive at a maximum speed limit of 80 km/h. .
  • Certain vehicles (minibuses, buses and goods vehicles) shall not exceed the speed limits imposed on tyres by SABS 1550 or as approved by the manufacturer of such tyres.
  • Certain tractors and trailers or combination vehicles may also not exceed speed limits of 35 km/h and 15 km/h based on their braking capabilities.

Are There New Laws Coming Into Play?

In a recent statement made by the Department of Transport’s spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, the country will start experiencing the following road traffic changes:
  • As of May 11 2017,  no bakkie has been allowed to transport school children at the back of the vehicle;and  
  • There is a limit of 5 passengers per vehicle.
  • All heavy duty vehicles have to display a ‘100’ speed limit sticker on the back of their vehicle. They are permitted to travel at a certain speed limit based on their weight.
Here are some new regulations that have been proposed to be applied next year:
  • All drivers will have to undergo a practical re-evaluation when renewing their driver's licence.
  • There will be a review and revamp of the current K53 test.
  • Goods vehicles weighing more than 9t will be banned from public roads during peak travelling times.
Speed limits will be reduced as such:
  • From 60km/h to 40km/h in urban areas;
  • A deduction from 100 to 80km/h in rural areas and;
  • A decrease from 120 to 100km/h on freeways running through a residential area.
Not only does speed destroy lives, but it can also destroy your wallet. 

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