The following was distributed by Cover Magazine's website:
The call from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) to suspend drivers licenses of motorists convicted of certain traffic offices – including driving under the influence of alcohol or other narcotic substances, reckless, negligent or inconsiderate driving and excessive speeding – places offenders at risk of insurance claim repudiation should they be involved in an accident while their licenses are suspended.
Motor insurance cover is immediately invalidated when the driver no longer has a valid driver’s licence. Should the motorist be caught driving with a suspended drivers licence, not only are they partaking in a criminal offence, but they are placing themselves at risk of further financial strain, in addition to the costs associated with re-testing for both their learners and driving licences.
According to the RTMC, since January 2012 a staggering 5 000 drivers have been arrested for various traffic offences.
The programme proposed by the RTMC is a necessary step towards reducing the sheer volume of fatal accidents on South Africa’s roads each year and could ultimately benefit consumers in the future through lower insurance premiums, should the project be successful in reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents.
A decline in motor vehicle accidents could equate to fewer insurance claims, therefore improving the risk profile of South African motorists. There are many factors that are taken into account when calculating the premium on a motor vehicle, however, if we see fewer accidents on our roads then it is highly probable that we could see a reduction in motor insurance premiums in the future.
However, drivers must also be aware of the additional insurance repercussions following the end of their driver’s license suspension.
Offenders are likely to struggle to find an insurer who will take on the risk of insuring them if their drivers license has been suspended in the past, as their risk profile will be worse than ordinary consumers. Those who are fortunate enough to find an insurance provider will most likely suffer the consequences of higher than average premiums or excess due to the increased insurance risk they present.
The proposed changes are part of a greater and ongoing effort by the RTMC to clamp down on road traffic offences, including the introduction of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO)and a greater police presence on the roads to catch drunk and reckless drivers.
While it may take some time for South Africans to get used to these changes, they are ultimately a positive step in combating what is a very serious problem. It is actually quite simple – motorists must learn to obey the laws of the land when they drive to avoid financial and legal repercussions.