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TRAFFIC POLICE and ON-THE-SPOT FINES
In previous Know Your Rights articles in AutoFocus, we’ve tried to strike a sensible balance between advising motorists of their legal rights and encouraging them to uphold the law of the land, more specifically the Road Traffic Act.The powers and duties of a Traffic Police Officer are contained in Section 8 of the Road Traffic Act. In brief, a Traffic Police Officer (or sometimes a Motor Vehicle Examiner) is authorised to:
The following are some of the common offences and fines prescribed in the updated Schedule appended to the Road Traffic Act on 25 October 2010:
The fines indicated on the preceding page are fixed penalties, not discretionary, and Traffic Police Officers do not have the power to increase or decrease the prescribed fines.
In applying the above powers and fines, the Officer is required to:
In certain cases, the Notice may require the driver or vehicle’s owner to produce certain documents at a police station within a specified number of days.
The driver has the option to plead Not Guilty on the Notice of Intention to Prosecute, in which case he/she may have to argue the case in court. In the event that he/she loses the case, he/she may be liable to pay the court costs in addition to the prescribed fine.
If the driver is unable to pay the fine on the spot, the Officer should issue a Notice of Intention to Prosecute and the driver must then pay the appropriate fine at a police station as soon as possible.
A Traffic Police Officer is not permitted to seize a valid document such as a valid driver’s licence where the purpose is to compel the driver to pay a fine either at the roadside or at a later date. Although this is common practice, it is not supported by the law.
COMMON DRIVING OFFENCES AND OFFICIAL FINES
Failing to carry a valid driver’s licence while driving a motor vehicle
Permitting an unlicensed person to drive a motor vehicle (learners should have a provisional licence) MK5,000.00
Operating an unroadworthy vehicle (eg lights/horn not working, worn tyres, brakes not working)
Speaking on a cellular telephone while driving
Driving at a speed in excess of the legal limit
Driving under the influence of alcohol (if the breathalyser result is over 0.08 mg)
Using a motor vehicle without a current Certificate of Fitness
Stopping a vehicle on the right hand side of roadway
Leaving a vehicle in the same place on a road for more than 72 hours
The essential documents for a Malawian Registered vehicle.
If you have any questions or personal stories relating to issues raised in these articles, please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Names will be withheld on request).