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Fleeing the scene of a 'hit-and-run' is criminal in SA... even if it's just a scratch

2017-11-14 11:00

Hit and run: Make sure you report any crash, no matter how minor the damage, to your nearest police station within 24-hours. Image: iStock

Cape Town - A crash is a crash in South Africa, no matter how insignificant the damage might seem.

It is imperative that any incident is reported to your local (or closest) police station as soon as possible. 

In the event of a traffic collision, you should exchange details with the motorist involved.

Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck  received the following query  from an anonymous reader involved in a 'hit-and-run'.

Justice Project South Africa's Howard Dembovsky also shares some insight.

This is what transpired:

Have you ever been involved in a hit and run?  Email us and tell us what happened.

The Law and 'Hit-and-Run': Section 61 of The National Road Traffic Act

Duty of driver in event of accident
61. (1) The driver of a vehicle on a public road at the time when such vehicle is involved in or contributes to any accident in which any other person is killed or injured or suffers damage in respect of any property or animal shall-
(a) immediately stop the vehicle;
(b) ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained by any person; (c) if a person is injured, render such assistance to the injured person as he or she may be capable of rendering;
(d) ascertain the nature and extent of any damage sustained; 
(e) if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his or her name and address, the name and address of owner of the vehicle driven by him or her and, in the case of a motor vehicle, the registration or similar mark thereof;
(f) if he or she has not already furnished the information referred to in paragraph (e) to a traffic officer at the scene of the accident, and unless he or she is incapable of doing so by reason of injuries sustained by him or her in the accident, as soon as is reasonably practicable, and in any case within 24 hours after the occurrence of such accident, report the accident to any police officer at a police station or at any office set aside by a competent authority for use by traffic officer, and there produce his or her driving licence and furnish his or her identity number and such information as is referred to in that paragraph; and
(g) not, except on the instructions of or when administered by a medical practitioner in the case of injury or shock, take any intoxicating liquor or drug having a narcotic effect unless he or she has complied with the provisions of paragraph (f), where it is his or her duty to do so, and has been examined by a medical practitioner if such examination is required by a traffic officer.

(2) No person shall remove any vehicle involved in an accident in which another person is killed or injured from the position in which it came to rest,
until such removal has been authorised by a traffic officer, except when such accident causes complete obstruction of the roadway of a public road, in which event the vehicle involved may, without such authority and after its position has been clearly marked on the surface of the roadway by the person moving it, be moved sufficiently to allow the passage of traffic.
(3) Subject to subsection (2), no person shall remove a vehicle involved in an accident from the scene of such accident, except for the purpose of sufficiently allowing the passage of traffic, without the permission of the owner, driver or operator of such vehicle or a person who may lawfully take possession of such vehicle.
(4) In any prosecution for a contravention of any provision of this section it shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that the accused was aware of the fact that the accident had occurred, and that he or she did not report the accident or furnish the information as required by subsection (1)(f).
(5) In this section the word “animal” means any bovine animal, horse, ass, mule, sheep, goat, pig, ostrich or dog.


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