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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Motoring problems

This is to answer a number of questions being raised by Bambazonke readers and the general motoring public.

A rear number plate light is a requirement – Statutory Instrument 154 of 2010, Section 26 (1): No person shall drive a motor vehicle (etc.) … unless equipped with at least one lamp capable of illuminating the rear registration plate of the motor vehicle (etc.) … with a white light. The deposit fine for this offence is $20.00.

Holding or operating a handheld cell phone while driving is illegal – Statutory Instrument 299 of 2002, section 16B. However as of October 2013, the Instrument did not stipulate a penalty. High Court Judgement HB157/2012 concluded an appropriate penalty is a $20.00 fine, failing which 5 days imprisonment.

The maximum deposit a police officer can legally impose is $20.00 per offence (a level 3 fine); any fine higher than level 3 can only be imposed by a magistrate after a court appearance. Therefore if caught talking on a handheld cell phone while driving, the maximum deposit fine is $20.00 and any amount above that will require a court appearance.

Nevertheless, we all appreciate the risks involved in operating a phone while driving, and given the hands-free kits that are available at very affordable prices, there should be no need to be on the phone while driving.

Deposit fines are imposed per offence, and if found with more than one ‘issue’, the police officer can ‘add them up’. To avoid any confusion we suggest that motorists familiarise themselves with the deposit fines relating to the type of vehicle they are operating. The most common fines are listed in our Notes for the Cubby hole. If any readers do not have a copy, email us at for an updated .pdf version.

Heavy vehicle license – The Road Traffic Act, chapter 13.11 states a Class 2 Heavy vehicle license is required for a driver operating a vehicle with a net mass of 5,000kg and above (of 7 metre length and 2,4 metre width).

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