Over the past two years, the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA), has campaigned to have cars that have been written off as a result of being critically damaged from being repaired and resold to the unsuspecting public.
Richard Green, National Director of the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA) has repeatedly stated that currently, there is no way for the public to verify if a car has been previously written off in an accident.
Until such a time as the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) makes information relating to a vehicle’s accident history available to the public, the public will remain at risk of unknowingly purchasing cars that have been written off.
Should you be on the market for a pre-owned car, it is vital that you have it professionally assessed. Green advises consumers as follows:
Never buy a vehicle without physically checking it and taking it for a test drive. Turn off the radio when driving it and listen to any tell-tale noises which may alert you to mechanical and other faults.
Never purchase a vehicle that does not have a full-service history from a reputable service provider.
Insist on getting an independent dealer or repairer to assess the vehicle further. You can find a list of accredited South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA)service providers on the Retail Motor Industry (RMI) website. The same applies should you be purchasing the vehicle from a private seller. A legitimate seller should not take issue with your suggestion of bringing in an independent assessor.
Spend time reading previous customer reviews about the dealership you intend to purchase your car from.
Remember that accredited SAMBRA members adhere to strict criteria and service levels designed to protect themselves as well as customers.
As South Africa battles the third wave of COVID-19 infections, individuals and companies need to recommit to policies put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. This means ensuring vehicles are properly sanitized before and after each drive.
Here are some guidelines we should all be following to ensure our safety and that of everyone around us.
Wash and sanitize your hands at every opportunity but if you do not have access to hand-washing facilities, just sanitize them.
If you receive stock or other items, spray or wipe it down with disinfectant.
At the end of your drive, disinfect the vehicle so that either you can start your next trip with a fully sanitized car.
Areas to sanitize include: the door, door handles, dashboard, steering wheel, rear-view mirror, gearstick, handbrake, radio, arm rests, seatbelt, seat, indicator levers, seat levers and even fuel cards.
Wipe down the infotainment system as well but avoid using an alcohol-based cleaner on electronic elements.
Remember to sanitize the exterior of the vehicle: door handles, door frames and the exterior of the boot.
If someone travels with you, do not forget to sanitize upon their exit.
Keep hand sanitizer or wipes in your vehicle.
We should all get into the habit of sanitizing our vehicles and everything that we come in contact with daily. The importance of reducing the spread and impact of the pandemic cannot be over emphasized and we all need to play our part. Start today if you haven’t already begun doing so.
For most drivers, there can be nothing more annoying than a reckless driver that dangerously cuts in front of you, or drives facing oncoming traffic, says Wilma van der Walt, executive of Customer Experience and Operations at PPS Short-Term Insurance.
This is the reality for drivers in South Africa’s towns and cities but that may be a thing of the past should authorities properly enforce the upcoming demerit system.
This is because one of the implications for drivers is that they could potentially lose their driver’s license for committing road traffic infringements. Not only could this leave you, or an employee of your company, not able to drive, but it could potentially influence your short-term insurance.
With the new Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offenses (AARTO) Amendment Act due for implementation on 1 July, these are stark realities that individuals and employers will have to be aware of.
That is because the AARTO Act includes a demerit system whereby a person, operator or company juristic person, will not only pay a fine but will also incur demerit points when a traffic infringement is committed. This could ultimately lead to one’s driver’s license being suspended or cancelled or, complicate the employment of an individual hired explicitly to perform a driving function.
The demerit concept
The concept of a demerit point system to encourage drivers to abide by traffic laws might be new to South Africa, but it is an established practice internationally. Countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom have long had such systems in force.
As much as it has not been implemented yet, South Africa’s demerit system was signed into law in September 1998 already as part of the AARTO Act, Act 46 of 1998.
How will the point system work?
Once the system is implemented drivers will start with zero points. For every infringement – which includes laws regarding the roadworthiness of a vehicle – demerit points will be allocated.
For example, the published guidelines state that if a brake light is not working on the vehicle, one demerit point will be allocated, as well as a fine of R1,000.
Some infringements can lead to up to six demerit points. The full schedule of the more than 2 500 separate charges can be viewed in the AARTO Act.
Drivers will be allowed to accumulate a maximum of 15 demerit points over a three-year period. Learner drivers, however, will only be allowed a maximum of six points.
Should a driver exceed this number, their licence will be suspended for a period of three months. If you drive while your license is suspended, you will be subject to a fine or even jail time.
The good news is that demerit points decrease by one point every three months. This means that drivers can work their way back to zero points over time.
A license may be suspended twice, but on the third instance, the license will be cancelled. The person will then have to apply for a new learner’s license and driver’s license.
Company vehicles and the AARTO Act
When it comes to a vehicle belonging to a company, the AARTO Act is clear as to how the demerit system will work.
The Act states that companies must keep an accurate record of who the driver of a vehicle is. Should a traffic infringement be recorded, the company must then ensure that the demerits accrue to the correct person, and not the person who is appointed as proxy for the vehicle.
This does mean, that even if you drive a company vehicle, you will also accrue demerit points against your driver’s license should you incur an infringement.
Although there is no clarity as to how employers will be able to access the point status of employees, the AARTO Act is very clear in that an employer can be held responsible if it allows a person whose license has been suspended, to operate one of its vehicles.
Concerning the roadworthiness of a vehicle, the company as the owner of the vehicle will be held responsible, and demerit points will be issued against the license or operator disc of the vehicle.
The vehicle can therefore also accrue demerit points to the extent that it is not allowed to be operated by any person for a stipulated period of time. It is therefore important that the company (as the owner of the vehicle) and the employee (as operator) ensure that company vehicles are roadworthy at all times.
The AARTO Act and your short-term insurance
All companies offering short-term car insurance require that drivers of insured vehicles must have a valid driver’s license. The risk of a client clearly changes if a license is suspended or withdrawn and it will be the client’s responsibility to update his/her insurance accordingly.
This will mean that although short-term insurers – will still insure the particular vehicle, they will not honor any accident or damage claims where a driver of that vehicle was driving while his or her driver’s license was revoked or suspended.
Given the introduction of the AARTO Act, insurers might also consider additional conditions and/or excesses should a driver exceed a certain number of demerit points.
By Wilma van der Walt, executive: Customer Experience and Operations at PPS Short-Term Insurance
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