What Are The Legal Implications Of Hit-and-Run Accidents In South Africa?

Written by
Natalie Venter 
25 April 2022

What is the exact definition of a hit-and-run?

A “hit-and-run” is where a collision occurs, either between two or more vehicles, pedestrians, or animals, and one of the parties involved flees the scene without carrying out the legislative duties which are bestowed upon them or, at the very least, identifying themselves and providing their personal details and contact details.

What are my duties when I am involved in an accident?

In terms of the National Road Traffic Act 93 of 1996 (“the Act”), section 61(1) states that if the driver of a vehicle on a public road is involved in or contributes to any accident at the time, wherein any other person is killed or injured or suffers damage to their property, the driver shall:

  1. immediately stop the vehicle;
  2. ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained by any person;
  3. if a person is injured, render such assistance to the injured person as he or she may be capable of rendering;
  4. ascertain the nature and extent of any damage sustained;
  5. give his or her name and address, the name and address of the owner of the vehicle driven by him or her and, in the case of a motor vehicle, the registration or similar mark thereof; and
  6. report the accident to any police officer at a police station with competent authority over the area in which the accident occurred, within 24 hours after the accident.

What if I do not comply with my duties in terms of the Act?

The Act states, in section 89(1), that any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of the Act or with any direction, condition, demand, determination, requirement, term, or request thereunder, shall be guilty of an offence.

If I am convicted, what penalty do I face?

The penalties if you are convicted of an offence as outlined above are broken up into the following categories:

(a) In the case of the death of a person or serious injury to a person where it is proven that you failed to comply with your duties under 1, 2, 3 or 6 above, you will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding nine years.

(b) In the case of damage in respect of any property or animal of another person where it is proven that you failed to comply with your duties under 1, 4, or 6, you will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.

(c) Where it is proven that you failed to comply with your duty under 5, you will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

Should you find yourself facing charges for a hit-and-run incident, do not hesitate to contact our experienced criminal lawyers for assistance.

DISCLAIMER: Information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. READ MORE