TO EDUCATE motorists on road safety, the Road Accident Fund (RAF) is urging motorists to be cautious when dealing with hit-and-run situations.
According to the RAF Act, if the driver or the owner of the vehicle can be identified, a claim must be lodged with the fund within three years from the date of the accident.
RAF media and public relations senior manager Linda Rulashe said in the event of a hit-and-run accident, one must look around the scene and determine if there is any evidence to be found.
“A broken number plate or any other evidence that will assist in identifying the driver or owner of the vehicle can assist and one must determine if there are any witnesses and obtain their full details and contact numbers as well as a clear description of the motor vehicle involved,” she said.
She said that one must report the accident to the South African Police Services (SAPS) as soon as possible and obtain a case number.
Eastern Cape police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said hit-and-run accidents must be reported immediately to any police officer at a police station.
Driving licences, identity numbers and valuable information on the accident scene would be required.
Mali said a hit-and- run refers to when an accident occurs and the driver who was to blame does not stop.
“According to the National Road Traffic Act, the driver of a vehicle that is involved in any accident in which any person is killed or injured, must immediately stop the vehicle and report the accident if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring – give his name and address, as well as the licence number thereof,” she said.
Mali said failure to follow the procedure would lead to the presumption “that the accused was aware that the accident had occurred”.
“This is considered a criminal offence and the driver could be faced with charges of reckless and negligent driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to ascertain the nature and extent of injuries and failure to report the accident,” she said.
Mali said a “huge number” of accidents were caused due to drunk pedestrians. It was essential to get assistance in such instances.
Eastern Cape boxing champion Simpiwe “V12” Vetyeka was seriously injured in a hit-and-run incident recently.
The RAF national call centre is open from Monday to Friday between 7.45am and 4pm. The number is 0860-23-5523.