AA concerned by apparent rise in traffic fines for expired car licence discs

The Automobile Association (AA) says motorists should not be penalised for their expired licence discs considering the ongoing challenges at licensing centres countrywide.

FILE: A Cape Town Traffic Services officer. Picture: EWN

AA spokesperson Layton Beard says there's been a rise in the number of complaints related to licence disc fines in the last two weeks.

The validity period of motor vehicle licence discs that expired during the Covid-19 lockdown, between end March and May 31, came to an end last month.

However, Beard says licensing centres are still experiencing major operational challenges, including backlogs, staffing restrictions, long queues, and Covid-19 closures.

As a result, he says many motorists have still been unable to renew their vehicle licence discs before the expiry dates.

The AA is concerned that traffic authorities will also be as "unfair" and ruthless when the validity period for driving licence cards comes to an end in January 2021.

As the roads get busier under lockdown level 1, Beard argues that traffic officials should be focused on other road traffic offences such as drunk driving, cellphone usage and negligent driving.

The AA believes that urgent steps must be taken to fix the current renewal processes, he tells CapeTalk host John Maytham.

People are telling us that they are being stopped and that they're vehicle licence disks are being checked.

Layton Beard, Spokesperson - Automobile Association

People have had problems with renewing these and because of that, they are driving with expired licences and they are being fined for that.

Layton Beard, Spokesperson - Automobile Association

Our concern is that people want to be on the road legitimately and legally, but if there is no avenue for them to actually renew these licences, they are being punished for something they have no control over.

Layton Beard, Spokesperson - Automobile Association

Given the backlogs and the fact that the system has been broken even before Covid-19 arrived, people are struggling to get their documents renewed.

Layton Beard, Spokesperson - Automobile Association

The licensing centres are closed for various reasons; Covid-19 cases forces them to close. They are understaffed and the equipment doesn't work all the time.

Layton Beard, Spokesperson - Automobile Association

People want to get these things done, they just simply can't, and when they get find, we think that there is a big problem.

Layton Beard, Spokesperson - Automobile Association

_Listen to the discussion on Afternoon Drive with John Maytham: _

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : AA concerned by apparent rise in traffic fines for expired car licence discs