Lately I noticed a strong presence of police officers, particularly on roads through sugar cane fields, right after a round-about, where visibility of an officer would be poor from several metres away.
I am writing this because I had to pay a fine for driving above the prescribed speed limit. No! I was not racing. I was driving at a comfortable speed not to doze off on the wheel especially when one is surrounded by green fields on both sides. Alas, what I considered a comfortable and safe speed was unfortunately above the 60 km/h speed limit on that road. I was driving at 76 km/h.
I discourage drivers from speeding, not just to avoid a fine, but for the safety of people using the road.
Since the past two weeks I have been trying to keep my focus on the road while driving slow; that is not to fall asleep. Music helps with that.
What does the law say?
Section 124 of the Road Traffic Act mentions the speed limit. In particular paragraph (4)(a) states that:
Any person who drives a motor vehicle on a road at a speed exceeding a prescribed limit shall commit an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding 5,000 rupees or, in case of a third or subsequent conviction, to a fine exceeding Rs 10,000 rupees.
I was not aware of Section 124(4)(b) until today.
An offender under paragraph (a) shall not be liable to be convicted solely on the evidence of one witness to the effect that, in the opinion of that witness, the offender was driving the motor vehicle at any particular speed.
In most cases of speeding drivers either receive a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) by a police officer or receive a Photographic Enforcement Device Notice by post. In the case of the former, if a driver refuses to accept the offence and he/she does not pay the fixed penalty then criminal proceedings are instituted against the driver; where of course the driver may plead "not guilty" and defend himself/herself. I was told so by the police officer issuing the FPN and it corroborates with Section 193 of the Road Traffic Act.
A fixed penalty must be paid within 21 days of notice.
The amounts for the fixed penalties for exceeding speed limits were increased in a proposed amendment of the Road Traffic Act in 2018, such that the new penalties became:
- Rs 2,500 for exceeding speed limit by not more than 15 km/h.
- Rs 5,000 for exceeding speed limit by more than 15 but not more than 25 km/h.
- Rs 10,000 for exceeding speed limit by more than 25 km/h.
In order to pay for a fixed penalty, the driver should attend the appropriate Court as specified in the FPN, produce his/her original driving license and National Identity Card, and pay the specified fine.
Payments are done at the Cash Office of the District Courts, between 09h30 - 12h00 and 13h00 - 14h30 on Monday to Friday. The Moka District Court's Cash Office is open on Saturdays also between 09h30 - 11h00. District Courts are closed on Sundays and public holidays.
In case the last day to pay a fine falls on a Sunday or public holiday then payment can be done the next day without any further penalty. Otherwise, the fine amount is doubled if the last day is missed. 🥺