Magistrates across the country are releasing updated admission of guilt penalties, and this may include failure on the part of drivers to ensure passengers wear masks while in a vehicle. Motorists can be fined as much as R1000 for breaking this law under the current State of Disaster.
The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says while COVID-19 continues to spread, South African drivers need to treat face masks in the same way that they would a seatbelt.
“A driver who wants to ensure that their passengers are protected from unnecessary harm should a crash be unavoidable, will always ensure that every passenger has a seatbelt fastened,” he said. “In the same way that you ensure safety belts are secured before starting, ask passengers to put their face masks on as well. If you struggle to drive with a mask yourself because it fogs your glasses, purchase a mask that prevents this.
“Research is showing that the wearing of face masks is one of the strongest defences against the transmission of the virus. Even if a hefty fine is not enough to convince you, the importance of not contracting the disease should.”
When it comes to travelling with people with whom you share a home, the law appears to be open to interpretation, according to Herbert.
“If you are pulled over, however, you should wear a face mask when speaking to the police officer. As such, keep your mask close at hand for this and in case the officer requests that you wear one with a passenger, irrespective of who they are,” he said.
“There have been instances where officers threaten penalties for not wearing a mask with a passenger but there are more cases where the officer simply asks you to wear the mask. If the officer does not simply ask you to wear a mask, explain your living situation. There are more reasonable officers than irrational ones. They don’t make the news or social media because it has no interest factor.”
Other fines that can affect motorists include:
– Fines for travelling outside of curfew which starts at 10pm and ends at 4am
– Failure of public transport operators to observe maximum load capacities
In support of the effort to prevent or lessen the spread, MasterDrive is starting a pledge.
“Remember to stay safe and healthy when you are outside the house with the help of our mantra ‘Hands, face and space’. Wash or sanitise your hands, cover your face and do not touch it and observe social distancing when out. If everyone changes their habits to automatically follow this mantra, it can have a major impact on the transmission of the virus.”
Visit judiciary.org.za to find the penalties specific to your province.
“In the meantime, follow the pledge at www.masterdrive.co.za so that you stay safe while away from home,” adds Herbert.