Everything you must know about speeding fines and cameras

Traffic fines are one of life’s bullets that people would do almost anything to dodge. Some claim they have never received them, others say they have been issued illegally.

Lowvelder met up with Mr Simon du Plessis, project director at Medaco – a service provider which administers traffic fines on a provincial level – to clarify a few key issues regarding the issuing and payment of them. “There are different types of speed cameras, each with their own legal and procedural requirements. They also issue different types of speeding tickets,” Du Plessis says.

1. The hand-held ProLaser camera is the smallest of all and is operated by hand. It is the duty of the operator to flag down the speeding motorist after capturing their speed and to give the driver the opportunity to verify the recorded speed on the camera.

The Prolazer camera.(Photo: kustomsignals.com)

The Prolazer camera.(Photo: kustomsignals.com)

“It is important for readers to take note that no warning sign needs to be put up where speed is monitored with these devices,” he says.

Also read: Traffic fines: to pay or not to pay for more on the periods relevant to paying your traffic fine.

The operator must write a speed ticket on the spot which instructs the driver to pay a specific fine or to go to court on a specific date. This ticket is called a Section 56 summons. If the driver fails to pay it timeously or to appear in court, a warrant for his arrest will be issued.

A section 56 summons.

A section 56 summons.

“Drivers may also write a so-called ‘presentation’* to the relevant traffic department explaining why they feel they were fined unfairly. It must be submitted to the department two weeks before the payment date of the ticket. Adhering to this practical requirement will avoid arrest,”
Du Plessis warns.

2. The Trucam is a slightly larger camera on a tripod that is capable of functioning on its own. Many Lowvelders wrongly believe that these cameras must be manned and positioned where they are clearly visible to road users.

The Trucam. (Photo supplied.)

The Trucam. (Photo supplied.)

These are not legal requirements. However, signs should warn drivers that a camera is watching them. They should be positioned on both sides of the road in the area where it is erected.

Also read: When they wrote your traffic fine, did they do so legally?

Vehicle owners are identified through the electronic national administration traffic information system (eNaTIS). The system confirms the car’s make and model, registration number and description. A Section 341 notice will then be delivered to the owner’s postal address as it was recorded upon registration of the motor vehicle.

A section 341 notice.

A section 341 notice.

“It is the owner’s responsibility to notify the traffic department of any change of address. “If it eflects wrongly on eNaTIS, you can be fined R500 for failing to update your current address,” he says. If the car was driven by someone other than the owner, he has to complete the “driver nomination” part of the form.

“It is the responsibility of the receiver of the ticket to complete this section and to send the form back to the traffic department, who reissues it in the name of the driver,” Du Plessis points out. If the traffic fine is not paid and no representation has been made to the traffic department, a summons will be sent to him or her, directing the person to appear in court.

3. Radar cameras are propped with a laptop. According to Du Plessis, software installed on the laptop prohibits the use of a radar camera that doesn’t adhere to the technical requirements proclaimed by law. This camera does not have to be manned by an operator, but a sign must warn drivers of its presence. After this camera has photographed a speeding vehicle, the procedure used with a Trucam is followed.

An example of a radar camera. (Photo: Twitter.)

An example of a radar camera. (Photo: Twitter.)

4. Fixed camera sites contain a camera fixed to a pole or a structure across the road. The same procedure as with Trucam and radar cameras applies. This is also the case where time/distance cameras are used. They ascertain the speed of a vehicle at two different points and calculate the travelling speed.

*Download the prescribed representation form here.

Helene Eloff
Legal Adviser & Journalist

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