We all know that different traffic infringements come with different fines – but did you know your fine can also depend on your location?
Due to crackdowns on province-specific road accident issues, various local governments deal with lawbreakers in different ways.
The most notable difference is the cost of fines in the Western Cape versus other areas in the country.
In 2014, the Western Cape approved a sharp increase in traffic fines – with some fines even doubling in cost.
Not every province followed suit, however.
For example, the City of Johannesburg and Tshwane municipalities follow the fine costs outlined by the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO), established in 2008.
The rest of the country follows the offences outlined in the Criminal Procedure Act.
The Western Cape, however, implemented its own Traffic Law Enforcement Offence Code Book.
CompareGuru took a look at the fines under the Western Cape system and the AARTO system, to see just how much they differ.
We gathered the most expensive fines for traffic infringements in the province and found the equivalent AARTO offence.
The differences became apparent very quickly, with Western Cape fines often being double or triple the AARTO equivalent.
The most expensive fine in the Western Cape is R5000, while in Tshwane and Johannesburg it is R1500.
Understanding The Fines
You might be a bit confused as to what the differences are between some of the fines.
Highest fine for exceeding maximum axle massload, for example, refers to the amount carried on each portion of a truck. Trucks are usually weighed and should one of the trailers be overweight, they will be fined for it.
Maximum fine for overweight vehicle refers to a vehicle being used for commercial purposes being overweight. This could be a taxi or an obviously overloaded bakkie.
In Cape Town, a fine received for having no roadworthy certificate for the vehicle will be given when the driver fails to produce any certificate. If the vehicle is found to be obviously unroadworthy, despite the certificate, the fine will hop up to R3000. Should the driver continue to drive the vehicle, despite the unroadworthy notice, there will be an additional R3500 fine.
Should you be found driving without a license, the fine is R2000 in Cape Town and R1250 in Johannesburg. However, should you be driving a truck, bus or commercial vehicle without the relevant papers, the fine jumps up to R3000 and R1250 respectively.
Different Provinces, Different Priorities?
The priority of the fine levels do somewhat correlate between the Western Cape and the AARTO equivalent, but that’s where it ends!
There are significant discrepancies. For example, most R2 000 WC fines are typically R750 under AARTO.
But for the infringement ‘driving without consideration for other road users’, the fine is R250 under AARTO. It is R2 000 in the WC!
Driving without a license is also more frowned upon in Tshwane and Johannesburg if traffic fine tiers are taken into consideration.
Under AARTO, driving without a license has a maximum fine of R1 250 (among the highest fines for the municipalities). In the Western Cape, the infringement has a maximum fine of R2 000 (among the lower fine costs for the province).
Unroadworthy vehicles are also especially clamped down on in the Western Cape, with local government blaming these vehicles for many accidents – especially in the public transport sector.
Driving an unroadworthy vehicle carries a fine of R3000 in the province. Under AARTO the maximum fine for an unroadworthy vehicle is a third of the Western Cape fine’s cost.
On one side of the debate are those that find the province’s legislation unfair and costly. There are, however, also those who support the higher fine costs.
After all, you only get the fines if you break the law. These people view the higher fines as a deterrent. It makes reckless drivers think twice about being impatient and overtaking that truck in a restricted zone.