File picture: Ihsaan Haffejee

Johannesburg - The road traffic rules are being changed again to make it easier for authorities to catch motorists who don’t pay e-toll bills and traffic fines.

The plan is to allow traffic authorities to bill motorists for outstanding e-tolls when they renew their vehicle licences, and to make it easier for the authorities to find defaulters by looking up their details in other databases, including confidential credit records.

The proposed changes are confusing due to the endless changes in the National Road Traffic Regulations (NRTR) and apparent errors in the proposal.

The NRTR were first issued in 2000.

This is the 23rd amendment to those regulations, including one which was withdrawn.

The updated version is needed to understand what is being changed, but the Department of Transport doesn’t appear to have this on its website, and this week was unable to provide The Star with a copy.

The updated regulations are on the website of an NGO, and this was the version The Star used.

The first change is to the rules on vehicle licensing. The intention is to allow Sanral to “mark” the details of vehicles with outstanding e-toll fees and to allow the traffic authorities to bill motorists when they renew their vehicle licences.

But this amendment refers to the wrong section of the NRTR and the e-Road Regulations: the NRTR section referred to does not exist, and the e-Road regulation referred to is about the title of those regulations.

The second change is about the verification of motorists’ addresses on the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS).

This requires that “a NaTIS user who wishes to obtain any document, register a vehicle, license a motor vehicle or use a service on the NaTIS” shall from November 1 provide proof of their full names, identity number, and residential and postal addresses. This is largely the same as the existing rule, but extends to all NaTIS users.

This change also allows the traffic authorities to check motorists’ identification or addresses by checking “any database established and managed by: the Department of Transport; any agency or corporation under the control of the minister or department; the Department of Home Affairs; and a person in terms of section 68 and 70 of the National Credit Act”.

The traffic authorities may use the updated addresses on those other databases for the delivery of all documents, notices and summonses in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, the Sanral law, the National Roads Act, and the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act. That includes documents for e-tolls and traffic fines.

Those sections of the National Credit Act refer to information collected by credit bureaus, including confidential information which that law forbids them from passing on.

The Department of Transport has called for comment on the amendments by August 14.

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The Star