Category Archives: Traffic law

Who is liable for the damages in a car accident?

B2What will happen to my vehicle after I have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and who will be responsible for the damages? Over and above the emotional and economical tension it causes a person and his/her family, there will always be legal principles that apply.

What does the law say?

The most prominent legal field that will apply when a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident is the law of delict. The law of delict will play an important role in determining who will be liable for the damages, if any. If the damages were caused due to the intentional or negligent conduct or omission of somebody else (the third party), the third party would be liable for the damages the car owner suffered. The third party is, however, not without a few defences, but that falls outside the scope of this article.

Litigation

An important legal doctrine to be observed in litigation is the doctrine of subrogation as it applies in the law of indemnity insurance. It is an accepted principle of indemnity insurance law that when an insurer fully indemnifies an insured party in the case of loss caused by a third party, the insurer has a claim against the third party in the name of the insured. The policy behind this doctrine is to prevent the insured party from receiving double compensation from both the insurer and the third party.

Insurance claims

From a procedural point of view, the insurer obtains the right to institute legal proceedings against the third party in the name of the insured party if the insured party still has an unsatisfied claim against the third party. This principle allows the insurer to become dominus litis (master in the proceeding), but only in name and on behalf of the insured party. The insurer becomes entitled to conduct the proceedings in the name of the insured party, provided that the insurer has fully indemnified the insured party and has also indemnified the insured party against the risk of legal costs which may arise from the proceedings. The insurer has no independent claim against the third party, but simply enforces the claim of the insured party for the insurer’s own benefit.

Conclusion

In summary, the car owner will be able to hold the third party liable irrespective if he/she has insurance or not. If the car owner has insurance they will be able to claim the damages from the insurance. If he/she does, the insurance will be able to recover the loss in the name of the insurer from the third party. The relationship between the insured and the insurance is a contractual relationship and if any party fails to perform in accordance with the agreement, that party will be liable for breach of contract.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

Traffic Officer confiscates my cell phone: What you should know!

Summary

Since 2011 the City of Cape Town: Traffic By-Law, 2011 has made it possible for an authorised officer to confiscate your cellular device if you are caught using it in your car while driving. If you end up getting caught red-handed, these are a few things you should know to make sure that all the correct procedures are followed when your cellular device gets confiscated.

Article

The City of Cape Town: Traffic By-Law, 2011 (hereinafter “the By-Law”) prohibits driving a motor vehicle on a public road, firstly, while holding a cellular or mobile telephone or any communications device with any part of the body and, secondly, while using or operating a cellular or mobile telephone or other communication device unless it is affixed to the vehicle (like a handsfree kit).[1]

According to the By-Law an authorised officer may, in the interest of public safety, confiscate a handheld communication device if he informs the owner of such device of the reasons for doing so. He must issue a receipt to the owner, stating the place at which such device may be claimed, and he must follow all procedures contained in any policy of the city dealing with the confiscation and impoundment of property.[2] The policy applicable in the City of Cape Town is called the Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals, 2012.

An authorised official exercising authority in terms of any By-Law of the City to impound goods, shall issue to the offending party a receipt for any property removed and impounded. This receipt must indicate:

  1. A list of the property to be removed and impounded;
  2. the physical condition of the goods (to ensure that they are returned in the same physical condition that they were in when impounded);
  3. the address where the impounded goods will be kept;
  4. the hours during which the goods may be collected;
  5. the maximum period for storage of goods before they are disposed of;
  6. the conditions for the release of the impounded goods;
  7. the name and office number of a council official to whom any representation regarding the impoundment may be made;
  8. the date and time by when representation must be made;
  9. the terms and conditions relating to the sale of unclaimed goods, by public auction, where no claim (and/or representation) is received.[3]

The City may sell any cellular device that hasn’t been claimed within ninety days after the date of impoundment through public auction which shall be advertised in local newspapers. Municipal officials and councillors, their spouses, relatives and acquaintances are prohibited from purchasing any of these impounded goods. Fees may be levied for the storage of the cellular device and any other expense incurred by the Council during impoundment. Said fees shall be determined by Council and may be adjusted from time to time. Fees and fines shall be paid at the Council cash office between the hours of 08:00 and 16:00 on Mondays to Fridays.[4]

Goods may be returned to the owner, or his or her representative, upon presentation of proof of payment of all fees related to the impounding and storage of the goods and any fines imposed prior to and/or during impoundment. Owners or their representatives can collect their goods during the hours and at the venue indicated in the impoundment notice served on the offender.[5]

Officials of the City must take reasonable steps to prevent any damage to impounded goods; however, it will not be responsible for any damage caused to goods where a reasonable duty of care was exercised. Digital photographs shall be taken of all impounded goods.[6]

A person who contravenes a provision of this By-Law commits an offence and a person who commits such an offence is, on conviction, liable for a fine or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 years, or both.[7]

Reference List:

  • The Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals, 2012
  • The City of Cape Town: Traffic By-Law, 2011
  • [1] S 38(1) of the City of Cape Town: Traffic By-Law.
  • [2] S 38(4) of the City of Cape Town: Traffic By-Law.
  • [3] S 8, S 9 of the Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals, 2012.
  • [4] S 10, S 11 of the Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals.
  • [5] S 12 of the Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals.
  • [6] S 16 of the Standard Operating Procedure on the Impoundment of Goods and Animals.
  • [7] S 39 of the City of Cape Town: Traffic By-Law.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

Moenie deur die lewe jaag nie

A2blJack Louw is gewoond daaraan om vinnige motors te ry – hy is feitlik gebore met een voet op die versneller. Jack kom boonop uit ‘n baie welgestelde familie, wat beteken dat daar altyd geld was om die boetes vir al sy verkeersoortredings te betaal. Jack se geluk kan egter binnekort draai en dan sal daar geen manier wees om net met ‘n boete weg te kom nie.

In terme van die Wet op Nasionale Padverkeer 93 van 1996 en die Regulasies, soos gepubliseer op 17 Maart 2000, is die algemene spoedgrense as volg: 60 km/h op ‘n openbare pad binne ‘n stedelike gebied, 100 km/h op ‘n openbare pad buite ‘n stedelike gebied wat nie ‘n deurpad is nie, en 120 km/h op elke snelweg.

Indien jy die spoedgrens met meer as 60 km/h oorskry, sal jy outomaties vervolg word en nie die geleentheid hê om ‘n afkoopboete te betaal nie. Indien jy meer as 100 km/h in ‘n 60 km/h-sone ry, sal jy waarskynlik nie die opsie hê om ‘n skulderkenningsboete te betaal nie, maar jy sal in die hof moet verskyn op ‘n aanklag van roekelose of gevaarlike bestuur.

Afhangende van die erns van die oortreding, sal jy nie toegelaat word om ‘n skulderkenningsboete te betaal nie. ‘n Skulderkenningsboete is ‘n boete waar ‘n persoon met ‘n eerste oortreding die opsie het om skuld te erken en ‘n boete te betaal sonder om in die hof te verskyn. Dit mag dalk soos ‘n maklike uitweg lyk, maar indien jy skuld erken, het jy ‘n kriminele rekord.

Skulderkenningsboetes vir spoedoortredings word bereken op die basis van die een rand per km/h wat die spoedgrens oorskry is. Hierdie boetes kan by enige kantoor van die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens in die Landdrosdistrik waar die oortreding plaasgevind het, betaal word. Die boete moet getoon word op die dag van die betaling van die boete.

Indien jy kies om nie die skulderkenningsboete te betaal nie, maar eerder die saak in die hof te beveg, moet jy op die boete kyk om vas te stel op watter datum jy in die hof moet verskyn, en wat die saaknommer is. Navrae oor die boete moet gerig word aan die klerk van die kriminele hof van die Landdrosdistrik van uitreiking, en jy moet die boete saamstuur.

Dit is belangrik om kennis te neem van die spoed wat jy ry. Dit kan vir jou belangrik wees om betyds by jou bestemming uit te kom, maar is dit die moeite werd om ‘n boete te betaal, of met ‘n kriminele rekord te sit? Dit is veral belangrik om te onthou dat indien jy die boete in ‘n ander dorp as jou tuisdorp kry, jy terug na daardie dorp moet gaan om in die hof te verskyn. Dit is jou plig om in die hof te verskyn, ongeag of jy in die gebied woon of nie.

Dink voor jy skuld erken op ‘n spoed oortreding, of selfs beter, dink twee keer voor jy die spoedgrens oortree en jouself in daardie posisie plaas.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

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