Drivers that have had their licences suspended under the Road Traffic Management Corporation’s (RTMC) precautionary safety programme could face having their insurance claim rejected should they be involved in an accident. “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 driver’s 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,” warned Christelle Fourie, managing director of specialist insurer MUA Insurance Acceptances.
Under the RTMC’s ‘Woza Re-Test’ programme, drivers could have their licences suspended if they are convicted of traffic offences such as driving under the influence of alcohol or other narcotic substances, reckless, negligent or inconsiderate driving and excessive speeding. According to the RTMC around 5 000 drivers have been arrested for various traffic violations since 1 January 2012.
Fourie added that drivers must also be aware of the additional insurance repercussions following the end the suspension. “Offenders are likely to struggle to find an insurer who will take on the risk of insuring them if their driver’s licence 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 RTMC’s proposed changes follow 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,” added Fourie.