A driver of a vehicle which has been involved in a road accident must report the accident within 24 Hours of its occurrence to any metropolitan, municipal or city police department, traffic department in South Africa or police station of the South African Police Service (SAPS). This must be done in terms of the National Road Traffic Act, Act 93 of 1996. This is only applicable if a police / traffic officer did not attend the accident due to the apparent minor nature thereof. However, the hours of operation of these departments/ offices must be taken into consideration.
A pedestrian may also report his/her involvement in an accident within 24 hours of its occurrence to his / her nearest police or traffic department, or police station. He/she must present proof of identification.
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 an accident may not be referred unnecessarily from one department to another, one office to another, or from one SAPS station to another.
A driver must present his/her driving license when the accident is reported.
The official Accident Report (AR) Form will be completed for all 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 by a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident where no criminal case docket has been opened/registered, only if he /she are in condition to do so. A police official, traffic officer or other authorized person will be prepared to help the driver complete the form.
An individual AR Form will be completed for each driver/pedestrian reporting an accident, irrespective of how many parties there are. This is to give everyone the opportunity to give their version of the accident.
Every effort must be made to say exactly where the accident occurred, i.e. the exact location. This is critical and of the utmost importance. It is essential that the information recorded on the AR Forum is an accurate reflection of the circumstances of the accident, and that the form is correctly completed.
Once the AR Form has been completed, an entry will be made in the official Accident Register, Occurrence Book, etc. The driver / pedestrian will then be given an official reference number as proof that the accident has been reported.
A photocopy of the completed AR Form will only be given to the driver / pedestrian if there is a request in writing and the request is accompanied by the payment of the prescribed fee. However, if a case docket is to be registered for an accident to be criminally investigated by the SAPS on account of the serious nature thereof, or a case has already been registered and the matter is still under investigation, the written request will be submitted to the Senior Public Prosecutor (SPP) of the particular magisterial district in which the accident occurred. He/she will determine whether a photocopy may be given or not, and if yes, at the prescribed fee.
If a photocopy of a completed AR Form is requested by an involved party (i.e. driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist or owner of damaged property) or someone acting on behalf of the involved party at any other stage after the accident is reported by a driver/pedestrian, the request must be in writing. A person will have to prove that they are an involved party, and /or have the written permission or authority of the involved party. The payment of the prescribed fee also applies. In the instance where a case docket has to be registered or has already been registered, the procedure regarding the submission of the request to the SPP (as stated in the paragraph above), will be applicable.
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 the SAPS has been involved in an accident or contributed to an accident,
when it appears that a serious offence has been committed , and/or
When there is a written complaint that a specific criminal offence (Section) (traffic-related or not), has been committed, and that such complaint is brought to the attention of a station commissioner of a SAPS police station.
A criminal offence is committed if a road accident is not reported, not reported within 24-hours of the occurrence or a drivers license is not produced when the accident is reported, and a criminal prosecution could follow.
You may also report vehicle accidents to the traffic department:
Monday - Thursday 07h45 - 17h00
Friday 07h45 - 15h45
If an accident happens after hours or over weekends the traffic department can be contacted through the fire department on 021 872 1404.