We all should know that it is a requirement of the National Road Traffic Act – 93 of 1996 that in order to drive a vehicle on our roads, the driver be in possession of a Valid Driver’s License for the class of vehicle and where required, a Professional Driving Permit (PrDP) or the equivalent document from any SADC country.
The number of heavy commercial vehicle drivers from neighbouring states being granted work permits is on the increase, there are over 22,500 from Zimbabwe alone.
We have found that fleet operators rarely go to the trouble of verifying the validity of driving documents provided by foreign drivers. They often only find out that they had an unqualified driver behind the wheel after an accident when the Insurance Company repudiates the claim, or worse, the SAPS investigate why the unlicensed driver was allowed to drive.
It is the responsibility of the Operator to ensure that the person being employed to drive his vehicle holds the appropriate driving credentials before allowing them out on the road.
The procedure involved in performing this task frequently causes the employer to turn a blind eye to even some really bad fake licences and PrDP’s, presumably hoping they could rely on the excuse “it looked real to me” in the event of a disaster on the road.Unfortunately, in the eyes of both the SAPS and the Insurance Company – ignorance is no excuse.
We have been carrying out these verifications for almost two years at this point and the statistics that have emerged are nothing but frightening! For example, we have found that of the 200+ Zimbabwean drivers checked, 32% of driving licenses are fraudulent as are 66% of their PrDP’s equivalent, their Defensive Driving Certificates.
To assist both Fleet Operators and Insurance Companies avoid this unpleasant situation, while helping expose the fraudsters who are without the correct driving qualifications, contributing to the carnage on our roads, CHECK-YOUR-DRIVER can carry out the verification for you.
Checks are carried out at source in the relevant country at the official custodian of the records for drivers’ licenses, providing written confirmation of our findings.
We have referred to the applicable legislation, being the NRTA (National Road Traffic Act 1996). It is a requirement of the NRTA that a driver be in possession of a valid Driver’s License and PrDP, or SADC country equivalent. (Zimbabwe being one of these) We check at the custodian of the records in the issuing countries. We also verify Swazi, Malawi, SA (especially foreign drivers who are in possession of a SA license – many are NOT authentic!) Also checks of International Driving Permit& Vehicle ID service ensuring VIN & Engine numbers correlate. Of the checks we have carried out, at claim stage, this is what the stats say:
Literally it is a flip of a coin as to whether or not your
Zimbabwean driver’s credentials are legitimate or not!
The legislation allowing foreign drivers to drive in South Africa using an equivalent document to the
- Any document issued by a competent authority in any prescribed territoryand serving in that territory a
purpose similar to that of a Professional Driving Permit shall, subject to the conditions thereof and to such
conditions as may be prescribed be deemed to be a professional driving permit for the purposes of subsection
The legislation also states:
- Chapter V : Fitness of Drivers Part IV : Professional Driving Permit 115. Certain drivers of certain vehicles to
hold professional driving permit
1 )Subject to the provisions of sub regulation (2), a professional driving permit shall be held by the driver of –
a) goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms
b) a breakdown vehicle;
c) a bus;
d) a mini-bus –
i) the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms; or
ii) which is designed or adapted for the conveyance of 12 or more persons, including the driver;
e) a motor vehicle used for the conveyance of persons for reward or is operated in terms of a operating licence issued
in accordance with the provisions of the NLTTA;
f) a motor vehicle the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms to which regulations 273 to 283 apply as
contemplated in regulation 274; and
g) a motor vehicle conveying 12 or more persons including the driver.
- National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act No. 93 of 1996) Chapter VI : Operator fitness 49. Duties of operator
1) The operator of a motor vehicle shall – exercise proper control over the driver of such motor vehicle to ensure the
compliance by such driver with all the
c) relevant provisions of this Act, in particular the provisions regarding –
i) the requirements in respect of the professional driving permit referred to in section 32; and
REQUIREMENTS of the National Road Traffic Act (NTRA) are very clear with regards to the Duties of the Operator. A driver must be in possession of a valid driver’s license and PrDP or equivalent from a SADC country. Common sense right? However, so many of the driver’s documents we verify are fraudulent. Safety on our roads should not be compromised!
We have been carrying out checks for over two and a half years now and the statistics are appalling! A quick count on my database, the last 20 checks carried out, 14/20 PrDP were fake and 6/20 licenses revealed the same. That’s nearly 75% of professional driving permits are fraudulent and these stats have been consistent since 2014.
Transporters costs are on the increase – you just have to look at fuel increases – 30cents up on 01 April 2016. Adding another layer of cost, unfortunately this results in less money for crucial maintenance repairs and the upkeep of vehicles, up-skilling and training for drivers and somewhere at the end of the list comes, if it even exists for some Operators, are the driver pre-employment / assessments & checks. Are driver’s licenses being verified for authenticity? Our statistics clearly indicate NO!
It’s not all bad news! CHECK-YOUR-DRI√ER is working with a range of clients, and although many checks come at claim stage from Insurance companies, only to reveal that the driver of yet another accident on our roads was a fraudster, we are now getting calls and queries from Operators & Brokers who by carrying out verifications of their drivers reduce risk & road carnage. Hats off to them!
With so many claims being repudiated at claim stage because of fraudulent licenses, no operator can be at risk! Just ask the operator who has lost over R1m truck & trailer. Add a fatality, accountability is key, and the money is not half the problem. What about possible civil suits, 3rd party claims and uproar from the Road Accident Fund who won’t pay.
Meeting with many Operators has proven to be a learning curve –hopefully one that will result in action to utilise CHECK-YOURDRI√ER more and to ensure we have licensed drivers on our roads. Hopefully gone are the days when our Transporters sole recruitment tool lies in a box of CVs in the reception office.
So why are there so many fraudulent Licenses & PrDP when SADC countries documents are recognised by the NRTA in South Africa?The reasons do vary but the bottom line for most is common – they just don’t go renew them! From costs, to time off work, ill informed bosses and traffic authorities, bribery and easy access to getting your hands on fake documents; these all play a role. Specifically in Zimbabwe, the custodian of records for the actual Driver’s License and Defensive Driving Certificate are two different organizations. The DDC is only valid for 4 years and to renew a driver would need to travel to Zimbabwe, pay $38, complete the DDC course over 2 days and wait for the card to be issued (another 48 hours). A time consuming and costly process!
It is a requirement of all motor Insurance Policies that the driver be legally licensed to drive the Insured vehicle. Not enough Insurance companies are verifying that the documents presented by the almost 30,000 Zimbabwean drivers currently working in SA are legitimate. Some cite the cost of the verification, others – an unfounded fear that the Ombudsman would overturn any repudiation, in favour of the Insurers, that was based on the driver being unlicensed. With the shocking road accident statistics, the OSTI has to uphold the law of our land and would not condone the operation of a heavy commercial vehicle by an unlicensed driver.
Another factor to consider is INFORMATION. Too often the excuse we hear is “but the license looked real”. Unfortunately in the eyes of the law, ignorance is no excuse! We need to raise the awareness of fraudulent driver’s documents and address this issue in the Transport Industry.
Reading about FLEETWATCH Brake & Tyre Team left me inspired to reach out for collaboration to Corporate, Private and Public sectors to hold hands and together in partnership we can make a difference. Not only are unroadworthy vehicles a catastrophic problem; so are unlicensed drivers.
CHECK-YOUR-DRI√ER’s vision is preventative action….. Get in touch and start the verification process today!
- Verification of South African License – especially foreign drivers who have SA licenses, not all are authentic.
- Verification of Zimbabwe Licenses and their Defensive Driving Permits.
- Verification of Zimbabwe International Driving Permits (IDP)
- Verification of Swazi License and their Public Driving Permits
- Verification of Malawi License and their PDP
- Vehicle ID service.
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