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Reporting a vehicle accident

The driver of a vehicle at the time when such vehicle is involved in or contributes to any accident in which any person is killed or injured or suffers damage in respect of any property, including a vehicle, or animal shall if he or she has not already reported the accident to a police or 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 the case where a person is killed or injured, within 24 hours after the occurrence of such accident, or in any other case on the first working day 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(eg. Metro Police) for use by a traffic officer, and there produce his or her driving licence and furnish his or her identity number and such information as required. This must be done in terms of Section 61 of the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act 93 of 1996).

A pedestrian or a passenger victim of a road accident may report his or her involvement at any police station. He/she must present proof of identification.

If not, the victim must provide proof that he or she was a pedestrian or a passenger by providing his or her hospital records, if applicable, and a statement/affidavit stating that he or she was a pedestrian or a passenger involved in the road accident (Note: Names must not be added to an AR, however the hospital records and statement/affidavit must be filed with the AR at the police station file.)

A road accident must be reported in person. It may not be reported over the telephone or by a third party.

A person wanting to report his/her involvement in a road accident may not be referred unnecessarily from one department to another, one office to another, or from one police station to another.

The driver must present his or her driving licence when reporting a road accident at a police station or other competent authority (eg. Metro Police).

The official Accident Report (AR) Form must be completed for all road accidents which occur on a public road and where a vehicle was involved, i.e. all roads where the public or part of the public has right of access. This could include private property.

The AR Form can/may be completed personally by a driver of a vehicle involved in a road accident where no criminal case docket has been opened/registered, only if he/she is in a condition to do so. A police official, traffic officer or other authorized person must be prepared to help the driver complete the form.

An individual AR Form must be completed for each driver/pedestrian reporting a road accident, irrespective of how many parties there are. This is to give everyone the opportunity to give their version of the road accident.

Every effort must be made to specify the exact location of the road accident. This is critical and of the utmost importance. It is essential that the information recorded on the AR Form is an accurate reflection of the circumstances of the road accident, and that the form is correctly completed.

Once the AR Form has been completed, an entry must be made in the official Accident Register (SAPS 176), Occurrence Book, etc. The driver/pedestrian must be given an official reference number as proof that the road accident has been reported.

At the prescribed fee, a photocopy of this form, may be furnished to an involved party namely, the driver, passenger, cyclist or owner of damaged property) if an official request form is completed, and they can prove that they are the involved party. If a person who is not an involved party requests a photocopy of this form, they must have the written permission/authority of the involved party if they are acting on their behalf or the request must be referred to the relevant Deputy Information Officer for the necessary attention.

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) and Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), or an agent acting on their behalf (with the necessary documentary proof from the RAF or RTMC), may be furnished with a certified photocopy of this form without the consent of a party involved in the accident, and free of charge.

If a case docket has been opened/registered for a crime investigation by the SAPS and the matter is still under investigation, any request for a photocopy of this form must be forwarded to the Deputy Information Officer.

A road accident will be criminally investigated by the SAPS in the following instances:

  • when a person has been killed (culpable homicide),
  • when a person has been seriously injured,
  • when a vehicle of a national or provincial government department has been involved in an accident or contributed to an accident,
  • when it appears that a serious offence has been committed , and/or
  • a written complaint is made by either a victim of the road accident, an eye-witness or a member of the community that an offence has been committed.

If the road accident is not reported within the mentioned period, and the driver fails to give a reasonable explanation for the late-reporting, he or she must be issued with a Written Notice to Appear in Court (J 534) or an Infringement Notice in terms of Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO), 1998 (Act No. 46 of 1998).