Home South African Driving licence crisis looms as March 31 deadline arrives – AA

Driving licence crisis looms as March 31 deadline arrives – AA

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With hundreds of thousands of drivers yet to apply for their new licence cards, a full-blown crisis is looming, the AA says.

WITH the March 31 deadline for outstanding driving licence renewals having arrived, the Automobile Association has called on government to reconsider its refusal to extend the deadline.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula announced in August last year that driving licences which expired between March 26, 2020 and August 31, 2021 would be valid until March 31, 2022.

With hundreds of thousands of drivers yet to apply for their new cards, a full-blown crisis is looming, the AA said.

“Given the recent problems with the production of driving licence cards, and issues around Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) and online booking systems, we believe it’s unrealistic to expect that this enormous backlog will be cleared by tomorrow; this leaves hundreds of thousands of drivers without the necessary documents to be on the road legally,” the association said.

“Unless traffic law enforcement understands these issues – and finds a suitable way of addressing them – we may find a massive spike in the number of traffic fines issued to motorists in the next couple of weeks and months”.

The AA also warns that motorists could find their insurance situation is compromised following the deadline.

“Insurers may repudiate claims if motorists are driving with expired licences. Although those who have applied for new licences are covered through an extension of the validity of their licences, there are still many drivers who have not applied for renewed licences for various reasons beyond their control.

“Government’s priority should be to provide an environment conducive to renewing these documents, and to provide the necessary back-up systems to ensure timely production and delivery. This is currently not the case in the majority of DLTCs and is creating a situation that will, effectively, criminalise those who could not apply for renewals through no fault of their own,” the AA added.

The only practical solution for now, according to the association, is for government to further extend the renewal period, as well as put measures in place to ensure that all DLTCs and systems are geared to accommodate the backlogs.

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